Trinidad and Tobago’s 4x100 metres women relay team made history, not once but twice in the same event.
First stopping the clock at 42.24 seconds in the semifinals and a few hours later the quartet of Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Michelle Lee Ahye, Reyare Thomas and Semoy Hackett crossed the line in 42.03 behind the Americans, who took silver with a time of 41.68. Team Jamaica won gold in a time of 41.07. In the process the squad became the first women sprinters to win a relay medal at the World Championships, another historic achievement.
In a race that was started at quick speed, it was the leader of the team, the wily and experienced captain, Baptiste, that led from the front, with a dazzling first leg. She said after: “I definitely trust Michelle, I knew that once I held by own and once I handed over the stick to Michele, it was all going to be okay.
Once they all got the sticks around the track, so I just felt that, the trust was there within all of us, we are comfortable with each other, nobody doubts anyone fitness and foot speed at this point, so we were just happy, that we were able to put it together, because it is tough, it is tough, to run a relay when you have not been practicing all year, so we came here since the 14th and we have been trying to work on our passes and I am just glad that it all worked out in the end.”
After the race Lee Ayhe said, “I am so happy, at the moment, my first World Championships and we have won a medal, it gives me energy to want to do more.” Reyare Thomas, who ran the third leg revealed: “It feel great to know that we come out here with a medal today. I ran okay enough that we were able to stay in the medal position.”
Hackett, who anchored the team said: “I want to say, is that I am here with my friends and them. I think each person held their own, and gave 100 per cent and our baton passing was good enough to make us come third, because everybody trust each other and gave it their best. This team is going to Rio.”
Baptiste paid complements to national coach and former olympian Ato Boldon. She said: “I definitely think, that Ato (Boldon) deciding to get on board in the first place helped us a lot, he has a lot of confidence in us and he told us that before the heats, that he believes this team can break the national record and after that he has said he believes that this team can go below 42 seconds, it did not happen but we were very close to 41, but I just think, his input definitely helped us all during this time.”
She continued: “Khalifa St Fort, the youngest and newest team member, is an up and coming athlete, we are happy for her and she held her own, and she seems like a very mature athlete and we are just excited by where sprinting is going right now.” The full 4x100 metres team comprises Reyare Thomas; Kelly Ann Baptiste; Semoy Hackett; Khalifa St Fort; Kamaria Durant; Michelle Lee Ahye and Ato Boldon, who the team’s sprint coach.
The National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago (NAAATT) has send congratulations to the team for breaking the national record twice and becoming the first group of women runners to win a relay medal. The NAAA also congratulated the entire coaching staff of Dr Ian Hypolite, Ato Boldon and Gunness Persad, who worked closely with the athletes in achieving their goals.
...Going For 4x400m relay gold
The national 4x400 metres relay sqaud of Renny Quow, Jarrin Solomon, Deon Lendore and Lalonde Gordon qualified for today’s final which will take place at 8.25 am (TT Time). The four-some posted a qualifying time and season’s best 2:58.67 seconds. They finished second to the Americans in heat two and and second overall of the eight finalists and will challenge for the gold medal from Lane 4.
Running in heat semi-final two, and from the dreaded Lane 2 in a race that included the USA and Jamaica Quow ran the opening leg, but he admitted to the Trinidad Guardian.” We were just to far down behind, I was just not feeling it today, but we we were able to go through because we had a strong team and we can always make it up because if one mess up the others can come through, so today was not my day, but I will be alright tomorrow.”
Solomon loves to run the second leg, but had some work to do receiving the baton in last position and he said: “I love to break and cut into the field from the second leg, we did not get off to the best start but that is why we have four legs. Everyone is going to come at their best in the finals, so we are not taking anything for granted, however we expect the usual four of USA, Jamaica and Great Britain to be in the battle for the medals.”
Lendore who has been affected by injury over the last few months and ran the third leg, was able to claw into his opponents lead and hand over the baton in third position ,” I have been off the track for a while, so this run felt good and I needed this as well, the idea was always to just run and make it into the finals, and we have accomplished that.”
Double Olympic medallist Gordon produced one of the runs of his life as he propelled T&T into second position, after one stage being in fourth with 150 metres to race. “It was a good leg, a little messy from a few of the front runners, there was a lot of shoving, but I stayed focus and pulled us through,” Gordon explained.