media_artricles :: 2016
Team TTO hopeful in relay finalAndre Baptise :: Trinidad Guardian :: 19.08.2016
Two more finals beckon for Team TTO today as both the men and women's relay teams reached the medal events in the 4x100 at the Rio Olympics here yesterday.
Both finished third in their respective semifinals.
Just hours after she finished sixth in the women's 200 metres final, Michelle-Lee Ahye was back on the track to guide her bronze medal World Championship colleagues into the main event.
Team TTO, running in the second heat and drawn in lane one, got a good start from Semoy Hackett who passed to Ahye. Kelly Ann Baptiste and Khalifa St Fort completed the job with the ladies finishing in a time of 42.62. The German team won the event in 42.18 while Nigeria was second in 42.55.
France finished fourth and Switzerland, fifth, but both Brazil and Kazakhstan were disqualified while the United States, earned a reprieve and a place in the final after filing a protest.
The stewards ruled that Allyson Felix was jostled by the Brazilian runner and instead of handing off the baton, she had to try flipping it to English Gardner.
That didn't work.
Race officials upheld an American protest due to the jostling but because relay finals must be limited to eight teams, the American runners was called back to the track to run all by themselves, in the same order and in the same lane. Their goal was to beat the time of 42.70 seconds run by China, the slowest qualifier from the two heats, which they duly achieved, returning the best time of 41.77.
Although their overall time was sixth, going into today's final, the T&T women are optimistic about completing the job with a medal.
"We believe we can win a medal once we run as we can. This order is working for us and that is why we decided on it," Baptiste noted.
Asked about the change in order, Baptiste said the women still had some work to do. "Yes, we changed the order and we still have somethings to work on, so we will see what happens going forward."
Ahye was confident that T&T would gain a medal. She said her hard six runs had not affected her too much. "I am okay, this is our team, there is love and we are going out there and giving everything for each other, so come tomorrow we are going looking for that medal."
St Fort, in her first Olympics was just enjoying the moment. "I am just glad to be here and get over any nervousness but everyone is helping me and now we are in the finals."
The men who were also in Heat 2, placed third in a season best time of 37.96. The Heat was won by Japan in 37.68 with Jamaica second in 37.94. Great Britain (38.06) and Brazil (38.19) also qualified out of the Heat, while the US (37.65), China (37.82) and Canada (37.89) qualified from the first Heat.
They too had a different look, with Keston Bledman starting and handing over to Rondell Sorillo, then to Emmanuel Callender and finally to anchor specialist Richard Thompson.
Bledman ran aggressively and looked determined. "I was just running with a lot of aggression, it is like we have something to prove, given what people have been saying about us but we are trying our best, we want a medal tomorrow night."
Thompson believes that the spirit among the team is really good. "We understand our roles and know what we need to do."
The women's finals is scheduled for 9.15 pm (TT time) and the men's will take to the blocks at 9.37 (TT time) .
T&T's Kelly-Ann Baptiste, left, passes the baton to anchor, Khalifa St Fort, during the women's 4x100m relay at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil, yesterday. T&T will be in tonight's finals scheduled for 9.15 pm (T&T time).