media_artricles :: 2016
Rally around CedenioAndre Baptise :: Trinidad Guardian :: 17.08.2016
"Pick the best team, no favouritism, no friend business. If you feel that somebody is not going to give you a good run on the relay, then you have to put that person to sit on the sidelines and bring in somebody that is rested."
This was the candid view of four-time T&T Olympic medallist, Ato Boldon, as he looked forward to T&T's participation in the relays here in Rio.
Boldon pulled no punches as he analysed the team for the 4x400 metres. "Let's face it, both Deon Lendore and Lalonde Gordon have not had fantastic years. Deon, I think since his injuries at A&M has really not gotten back to the sprinter that he was when he was back in college, the same for Lalonde. This is not the La Londe that we saw in London when he won the bronze medal, that is how it is at times."
Boldon described it as unfortunate that both are having 'down years' at the same time that Machel Cedenio was running the time he did in placing fourth in the final on Sunday night.
Cedenio clocked 44.01 to erase a 24-year old national record set by Ian Morris in Barcelona, 1992. "We have a 44 flat quarter-miler in Machel Cedenio and I would like our chances if we anchor with him and he is given the chance within reach of the leaders," stated Boldon. "I would like to think that the guys can rally around him and realise that if you get Machel Cedenio close to these guys, he can do a lot of damage as he did last year on the anchor leg," said Boldon.
Boldon said the team's management must go back and review what happened in the heats and how each athlete performed before deciding on the quartet for the event. "I think you have to go back and look at what happened in the heats and make an honest assessment. Then select your team on merit and nothing else."
As for the women's 4x100 metres who won bronze at the 2015 World Championships, Boldon was worried by Kelly Ann Baptiste's failure to progress in the 100 metres heats. "My big concern is that Kelly Ann ran so poorly in the 100 metres. I am hearing that they are trying to change the order, maybe moving Kelly Ann to third and leading off with Semoy (Hackett). That is of great concern to me. Semoy will probably have four or five rounds in her at that point, and I just feel like you want your lead off to be readily fresh as opposed to having all of these rounds in her," noted Boldon.
"However, after all of that, most importantly will be to get the stick around. This is not like last year, this is an uphill climb with the way everybody looking," added Boldon
Boldon is personal coach of young relay runner Khalifa St Fort and he said. "She has recovered from a hamstring injury and I think she will run a good leg."
Boldon described T&T's performance at the Games so far as up and down. "It has been an up and down Olympics for Trinidad and Tobago but mostly down. I was very happy to see Machel get that national record. It took a world record to put him off a medal and that is certainly our best performance. I felt Michelle Lee-Ahye did well in getting to that final (100 metres), though she was not able to medal. And I am also very happy for Cleopatra."
Boldon who is now an analyst with the NBC network for their Olympic Coverage was uncertain for the remainder of the games. I don't know where the medals are going to come from—the women's 4x100 potentially and the mens 4x400 potentially plus we have our defending champion Keshorn (Walcott). But the big surprise for me is Michelle Lee Ahye in the 200 metres. She looks good enough to challenge for the medal. The problem is the other young ladies, Elaine Thompson coming back, (Dapne) Scnippers coming back, and that's before we talk about Torie Bowie from the United States who is undefeated. That is probably a stiffer event than the 100 metres," stated Boldon. "Michele Lee Ahye looked very good and she probably remains our last female individual medal hope, " he ended.
From left, T&T's Lalonde Gordon, Grenada's Kirani James, Botswana's Karabo Sibanda and Jamaica's Javon Francis compete in a men's 400-metre semifinal during the athletics competitions of the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday. AP Photo