National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago

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Former teacher: 2020 will be Machel's year

Sue-Ann Wayow :: Trinidad Express :: 16.08.2016

IT WAS no surprise to Machel Cedenio's family that he broke a national record on Sunday at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, finishing fourth in the 400-metre final.

"He would have done great things," said his father, Hayden Cedenio.

Cedenio Senior told the Express yesterday that his son, who was the Express Youth of the Year in 2014, had a record of doing well on the track and "it is just a matter of time doing greater things".

The Cedenio family, originally from Point Fortin, now lives in Phillipine, San Fernando.

Hayden Cedenio said the move to San Fernando was because of his children, who attended schools in the city, and for Machel, who needed to be nearer to his training grounds at Skinner Park and Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.

The proud father said he was distressed about the 400-metre final in which his son placed fourth, clocking 44.01 seconds.

"Mentally, I was in a mess, I knew he would have come out strong but you could never tell what could happen but we knew that once he got out he would have done something great," he said.

"We saw it in him, in early primary school, that he had potential, whatever he took part in he would have excelled in, football and so on. We saw it in him that he had the ability to run."

Machel Cedenio is the youngest child of Hayden and Diane Cedenio and their only son. The couple also have three daughters.

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Looking towards Tokyo

Errol Jaikaransingh, past principal of Presentation College, San Fernando, met Cedenio just two years before he retired as principal.

This is what he said of the past pupil who transferred into the school in Form Three.

"I really did not expect him to medal, I did not think his time has yet come. I think Tokyo (in 2020) will be his year but I am really proud that he was able to pull a fourth place. Machel was just a gentleman, easy-going, very nice guy, but I remember most strangely enough is my interaction with his parents because my whole view on things as an educator was, always, you come from a good home, you will do great things. His mother and his father were very supportive of the school, very supportive of him in school and into his athletic career.

"There is one incident that stands out, when he was in Fifth Form, we have our annual sports day and at that time he was already a national athlete and I excused him. I told him that I didn't want him running on sports day for his house because the field was always uneven and being a national athlete he could damage himself and so on. His father came in school to see me the next day and told me, 'Mr Jaikaransingh, I really want my son to run for sports day. He is part of the school and he should take part in everything that the school has'. I thought that was wonderful.

"This guy had the right support from home. He is going to get to the highest heights," said Jaikaransingh.

'Great effiort'

Current principal Dexter Mitchell told the Express on Monday: "I think he made a great effort there last night and he just missed medalling, coming fourth. I am very proud with what Machel would have accomplished for Trinidad. I am sure that we will see more of this young man in the coming years. Presentation College is very proud to have played a part in Machel Cedenio's life."

And Point Fortin Mayor Clyde Paul also sent congratulations to the athlete, who was recipient of a Point Fortin Borough award in 2013.

"Personally, I expected him to get a medal and if he had more support earlier on, I think he would have won a medal," said Paul.

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Former teacher: 2020 will be Machel's year
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Trinidad and Tobago's Machel Cedenio (R) and Slovenia's Luka Janezic compete in the Men's 400m Semifinal during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN

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