Bringing home Deon...

Arrangements are being made for the return of the body of T&T Olympian Deon Lendore back home to Trinidad, though a timeframe has yet to be confirmed.

This was confirmed by a spokesperson for Lendore’s family, who also revealed that a memorial service for the athlete is being planned to take place in Texas where the 400m runner competed for Texas A&M University track and field team. Lendore died in a car accident in Texas, USA, on Monday night.

The 29-year-old quarter-miler represented T&T at the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. He formed part of the T&T 4x400m relay team that copped Olympic bronze at the London (2012) games.

The spokesperson, who has kept close contact with Lendore’s family, said: “Everything is in place for the body to return to Trinidad. There is a memorial service being planned for Deon in Texas, and the family has no objection to that. After that, the body is expected to return to Trinidad, however, a timeframe for that is yet to be confirmed.”

“So far, all the arrangements have been made for the departed to return to Trinidad. The University, the government, through the Ministry of Sports, Foreign Affairs and the TTOC...they are making all the arrangements to bring the body back,” the spokesperson revealed.

“That has been working on all along. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is really doing all the paper work and then they will inform the family of what stage they are at, so that they will be able to know how to move. Everything is being set in motion for the body to return home and the family is feeling a bit more comforted by that,” the spokesperson noted.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson said a lot of athletes from around the country have been coming to pay their respects.

“Charlie Joseph, the Abilene Wildcats coach, has also paid his respects to the family and has been here with the family every night. Many of Deon’s schoolmates, not only from QRC but from his primary school have also paid their respects and the family is really appreciative of all the love and support,” the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe, confirmed yesterday that the Government has been in communication with the bereaved family and has been assisting.

In a facebook post yesterday, Cudjoe stated: “Though the media hype can be very exciting, it can also be equally misleading. The Government has been and continues to be in communication with and of assistance to the family of the late Deon Lendore. We are working hand-in-hand. So rest assured that the Government has been fully mobilised and we remain willing and ready to assist.”
The Sports Ministry also issued a media release yesterday. “We are working hand in hand with the T&T Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs, and all relevant arms of the state have been fully mobilised to ensure that the family’s wishes are respected and implemented as soon as possible,” the communique stated.

Lewis: All efforts being made to assist

And Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Bryan Lewis also noted that all efforts are being made to assist. “As far as I’m aware, and I have been speaking to the family, every effort and all efforts are being made to assist as best as can be done,” Lewis told the Express.

“I know that the Texas A&M, the government and the relevant ministries and the TTOC, we are committed to doing what needs to be done,” he assured. “You would appreciate bringing a body back through different jurisdictions, there are certain requirements that have to be met,” Lewis noted.

Meanwhile, Grenada 400m runner Kirani James paid tribute to Lendore on Thursday, saying he will always remember the T&T runner for his competitiveness and sportsmanship. Speaking to TalkSports host Michael Bascombe on facebook on Thursday, James said the news of Lendore’s death was “heart-breaking for sure.”

“He was always competitive. Athletes like Deon and others, you always remember them for their competitiveness and not only that but for the sportsmanship,” said James, who is an Olympic gold medallist in the 400m event.

“Even though we were in the same event, we always had a level of respect and comradery between us, so every time we saw each other on the circuit it was good because you know he is a guy that is genuine and is always going to be competitive, but at the same time respects and knows enough to understand that this sport is bigger than all of us and we are all kind of brothers in a way,” James added.

“You always remember people like that. What I always take from meets is not just the performances but the relationships you form. You form those bonds and those relationships last for a lifetime and I felt like we would have that sort of relationship for life,” he concluded.