President of the National Associations of Athletics Administrations (NAAA), Ephraim Serrette, yesterday described Lalonde Gordon’s bronze medal success in the 400 metres at the Olympic Games as a tribute to perseverance and noted that Gordon was one of the young athletes who was never afraid to seek advise. Serrette who was present at the Olympic Stadium in London to see Gordon win T&T’s first medal, said the performance was inspirational, considering that not many gave the young Tobago athlete a chance of medalling before the Games. ”It was a wonderful performance. He has made us all very proud. He worked hard to reach where he is now and tonight he got the reward and also well rewarded us with our first medal.”  Serrette said after speaking with Hasely Crawford, who won T&T’s only Olympic gold medal, both agreed that Gordon’s semi final run put him right in line for a medal. “He was running on strong at the end of the contest and almost got the silver medal, as Santos was tiring up, it was a brave and wonderful effort. He has further raised the hearts in the camp and made us all smile again,” stated Serrette.
Gordon is the second T&T athlete to medal over 400 metres at the Olympics for T&T, following in the footsteps of Wendell Mottley, who won a silver medal in the 1964 at the Tokyo Olympics. Serrette revealed that Gordon has been around the team for the past two years and has always shown the heart and desire to succeed. “He is not afraid to listen and learn and the rest of the team get along well with him.”   He said that despite the pressure on him, Gordon rose to the occasion. “Many were talking about medals on Monday. We had none when he went out so it must have been a weight on his shoulders but he delivered. He never allowed that to bother or affect him. It was the performance of his young lifetime,” noted Serrette. Serrette was optimistic about T&T’s chances in the 4 x 400 metres relay. “Even though Renny Quow is now out of the Olympics with an injury, the other young guys like Gordon, will have been inspired by this performance and they will be ready to go after another medal in a few days time,” said Serrette.
Several of his teammates paid tribute to Gordon. Richard Thompson described him as a crazy character. “He can either run a su-44 or 45-plus. He is just so different and says all kind of things, but with good intentions. He is  very talented. We are not surprised by his performances.” His manager Dexter Voisin said the night before everyone was asking “Where this Trinidadian came from.” Voison said that after the semi finals, all of the other 400 metres runners were talking about him. “What makes LaLonde so dangerous is that he is not one of those athletes who  thinks long and hard about anything. He just goes out and does his stuff,” added Voisin. Gordon  first represented T&T at the CAC Games in 2010 but did not make it to the World Championships. He now runs for the Zenith Velocity Club of Jersey City. After winning the 400 metres at the National trials in June, when he beat Renny Quow with a storming late surge, Gordon’s time of 45.40 was not good enough to secure a place on the 400 metres individual team for London. However, he responded two weeks later in July, when he ran at a meet in Omaha, Nebraska where he won in a time of 45.02 to book his place in the team.
By Andre E Baptiste

Lalonde Gordon showed true grit when he won T&T’s first medal at the 2012 Olympic Games—bronze in the men’s 400 metres final yesterday—at the Olympic Stadium, London, England. Gordon clocked 44.52 seconds, a new personal best, in a race which was more of a battle for second and third spots when Grenadian teenager, Kirani James, 19, sprinted out of reach down the home straight to win in 43.94 to get Grenada’s first-ever Olympic medal. In completing the feat, James also set a new national record for the “Spice Isle.” Another 19-year-old, Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic copped the silver in 44.46. “It’s a wonderful feeling,” said Tobago-born Gordon after his historic run. For me to come here and be the first medallist, it’s a wonderful feeling. To prove myself and make my country proud is a wonderful feeling,” he said. “It was a good race. I felt I should have kicked out a little harder but I did what my coach told me to do, run my race and finished strong. I believed in myself,” he added.

Gordon was quite aware of the challenge which James brought but he was focused on one thing. “All I wanted to do was place. Come out strong and just place and that is what I did tonight. I just thank God,” added Gordon, who was born in Lowlands, Tobago, but moved to live in Queens, New York when he was 10. “I want to thank everybody who have been supporting me although I wasn’t a well-known person. Thanks.” Some 45 minutes before Gordon’s success, Jehue Gordon placed sixth in the 400m hurdles final in a time of 48.86. “It was hard. I got thrown off my race early. I went past the fellow (Jamaican Leford Greene) in lane nine and I guess I started to get a little too relaxed and when I saw the others come up on me, it took me out of my race. I wanted to go back into my pattern but it threw me off,” said a disappointed Jehue. Felix Sanchez, 34, rolled back the years to claim gold in 47.63,  eight years after clinching the title in Athens, Greece, with exactly the same time. USA’s Michael Tinsley ran second in a personal best of 47.91, while the favourite Javier Culson of Puerto Rico was third in 48.10. “I wasn’t just happy with making it into the final. It was a hard road to come here and I wanted a medal so I am going back home and even though it’s next four years, I’m going to take things one step at a time and just continue working hard,”  said Jehue on his plans for the future.

Cyclist Njisane Phillip had to settle for fourth spot in the men’s match sprint event after losing to Australia’s Shane Perkins, who claimed the bronze medal with a 2-0 victory. “I’m happy,” said Phillip, who seemed to be the crowd’s second favourite behind Kenny. “I came in performing as usual. I made a silly mistake on that last one but it is what it is,” he said. Phillip impressed from the start of the event on Saturday, knocking off New Zealand’s Edward Dawkins and German Robert Forstemann, respectively, in the opening rounds. He then eliminated European champion Denis Dmitriev of Russia in the quarter-finals on Sunday to progress to the semi-finals against Kenny. Great Britain’s Jason Kenny got the gold after completing a 2-0 victory over three-time world champion Gregory Bauge of France in the final.

Earlier in his semi-final match-up with eventual winner Kenny, Phillip suffered the same 2-0 fate. Kenny just had too much speed for the local cyclist, who is making his debut at the Olympics.

Phillip will be back in action today in the first round of the Men’s Keirin event from 5 am (T&T time). T&T’s Cleopatra Borel-Brown just missed out on qualifying for the women’s shot put final, producing a best throw of 18.36 metres to place 13th overall during the morning session on the tenth day of action. The top 12 women progressed to the final. Nine centimetres separated her and Chilean Natalie Duco, who earned the 12th spot with a throw of 18.45m. Today Kai Selvon and Semoy Hackett will continue their quest for a spot on the podium in the women’s 200-metre sprint. Both advanced yesterday, with Semoy Hackett finishing second in her heat in 22.81 and national champion Kai Selvon ran a personal best of 22.85 to qualify as one of the fastest losers. Hackett will be on the track first at 3.33 pm (T&T time) in heat two then Selvon lines up in heat three at 3.41 pm.

By Rachael Thompson-King


Something special.

That phrase seems to sum up former Trinidad and Tobago track star Ato Boldon's impression of Lalonde Gordon's Olympic bronze medal run yesterday in the 400-metre final, which produced T&T's first medal at London 2012.

Gordon and his namesake Jehue competed in the 400m and 400m hurdles events championship races, respectively, and Boldon, a former T&T double Olympic silver medallist, said he had expected a medal in one of those events.

"I went to the track [yesterday] really feeling like between Jehue and Lalonde there is no way that we weren't going to get at least one medal," Boldon told CCN TV6 last night. "So I was extremely thrilled to see Lalonde come through and finally win us a medal in that event. We haven't won one since Wendell Mottley [won silver] way back in 1964."

Boldon also said he was "excited" to see T&T earn a medal in the quarter-mile event and hopes it will inspire other Trinidad and Tobago athletes to excel over 400 metres.

"For me, this is a very exciting thing Lalonde has done," Boldon noted. "He's put himself right now [in a position] to really take this event forward. It has kind of stagnated quite honestly in Trinidad and Tobago, with the exception being Renny Quow.

"With this young man and what he's done today, I think we can really look at getting past the Ian Morris record of 44.21."

Boldon was not all pleased with T&T's showings on the track, though.

"I have been impressed in some areas and disappointed in some areas," the ex-T&T sprinter revealed. "I felt like those 100-metre guys were going to get further than they did, in particular Keston Bledman. But that's the way it goes sometimes.

"Keston…he has to pay his dues and figure out how to get to that next level in terms of a championship. It's one thing to win an invitational race."

Boldon said he was "extremely proud" of swimmer George Bovell, who finished seventh in the Men's 50m freestyle event last week, and cyclist Njisane Phillip, who in his first Olympics finished just outside the sprint medals in fourth.

And Boldon is predicting more precious metal for T&T.

"Into these Olympic Games I've been very vocal in saying I thought the men's and women's' 4x100 are our best chances of medals," he said referring to the relay squads. "That still exists, we have that extra one in the bag now, and I'm extremely thrilled that the streak (of T&T medaling since 1996) is (still) going."

Boldon added: "It's very important to keep the streak going and now that we've gotten that [first medal] out of the way, it would be nice to pick up one or two more. We've never come home with more than two medals, so I would like to see us come home with three. That would be great."

By Kern De Freitas


"It's a wonderful feeling, knowing that I put my name out there. People should know who I am now."

Before the 2012 Olympic Games started, Lalonde Gordon was certainly not a household name.

That changed at the Olympic Stadium, here in London, England, last night, the 23-year-old becoming only the second athlete from Trinidad and Tobago to earn Olympic precious metal in the 400 metres event.

Gordon got home in 44.52 seconds in the men's one-lap final to secure bronze, joining 1964 silver medallist Wendell Mottley in what is now an elite club of two.

Kirani James became Grenada's first ever Olympic medallist. The 19-year-old achieved the feat in style, striking gold in a personal best 43.94 seconds, becoming the first non-American to dive under 44 seconds.

"I'm very proud for me," said James, "very proud for my country, and everyone who's affiliated to my country and me. Words can't explain. There's probably a huge street party going on right now."

Another teenager, 18-year-old world junior champion Luguelin Santos picked up silver for the Dominican Republic in 44.46.

Gordon's bronze completed a Caribbean sweep of the medals.

Gordon was drawn in lane four for the final, while James was in five. The Grenadian pulled away from Gordon on the back straight, and dominated the field coming home. Gordon, though, was strong enough towards the end of the race to battle with Santos for silver, holding off the rest of the field in the process.

"The last 60/50 metres, I knew I had it. I had the bronze medal."

Gordon told the Express he was very grateful to his coach, Trevor Green.

"Believing in God, my coach and his training—tonight it paid off. A dream come true. It's just a wonderful feeling to be an Olympic medallist."

After the race, an exhausted Gordon stooped on the track, before draping a T&T flag across his shoulders and enjoying a celebration very few had anticipated.

With his 44.52 personal best in the championship race, New York-based Gordon moved into second spot on the all-time T&T performance list.

In Sunday's semifinal round, the Lowlands, Tobago quartermiler won the opening heat in 44.58 to move into joint-third with Patrick Delice. Yesterday, he pulled away from Delice and edged past Renny Quow (44.53). Gordon now has his sights set on bettering the 44.21 seconds national record, established by Ian Morris in the semifinal round at the 1992 Olympics, in Barcelona, Spain.

"If I have any more meets after the Olympics, I hope to take it. If not, maybe next year."

Dexter Voisin, the T&T track and field manager here in London, was very pleased with Gordon's performance.

"Lalonde is an expressionless type of athlete. In his own subtle way, he would have decided to come and give 100 per cent in all rounds."

Gordon's mother, Cynthia Cupid, is also in London.

"I started crying," she told the Express.

"I know he's a great runner. He has a lot of potential. Lalonde needs a lot of support. He can get much better."

Gordon's next Olympic assignment is the 4x400m relay. The team, though, will have to do without Quow.

The 2009 World Championship bronze medallist pulled out of the individual 400m event, here in London, with a hamstring injury. He has since returned to his training base in the United States for treatment.

Though Quow's absence is a big blow to the team, Gordon is still targeting a podium finish.

"We have a good chance at medalling," he declared.

But whether or not the 4x400 men finish in the top three, Gordon will leave London with precious metal, his 400m bronze taking T&T's all-time Olympic medal tally to 15.

By Kwame Laurence


21-year-old Phillip ready for battle with Kenny in men's sprint

The world may have tuned into the 100m final on the running track at the London Olympics, where Trinidad and Tobago finished seventh with Richard Thompson but the tiny island nation has little cycling history, especially at the Olympics Games. Today however, spectators will watch as the young Trinidad and Tobago sprinter goes up against Great Britain's Jason Kenny in the men's sprint.

Track cyclists from the country have competed at past Games but it would seem that Njisane Nicholas Phillip may be one of the country’s biggest hopes for the track in the coming years. The men’s sprint competitor is the sole track entrant at these Games and says "I feel like a VIP," according to The Associated Press.

Phillip has progressed into the semi finals of the individual sprint where he will come up against current Olympic recorder holder and Great Britain's gold medal hope, Jason Kenny. The young rider came up against the now popular German Robert Forstermann who, thanks to a photo on Twitter, has become one of the sport’s most recognised sprinters - at least concerning his quad muscle size.

Despite a lacking in funding from his country’s federation, which focuses its resources on the track and field, Phillip's has been able to receive the kind of high performance training necessary for him to be a real force at these Games. There is a joint agreement with the United States which has meant that some of Phillip’s time has been spent with US Cycling’s track coach Jamie Staff.

"He's a very, very talented kid, just raw talent," Staff said. "The tactics just come naturally."

"He's a racer, I know what he's capable of and some days in training I'll be like, 'What was that?!"

While Phillip is unlikely to beat the former world champion Kenny in the semi finals, his biggest goal - making it to the Games - has already been achieved.

"I've already made it here, so I'm happy with that," he said.

By: Cycling News