media_artricles :: 2016
Boldon blames lack of practise for failureTrinidad Guardian :: 26.08.2016
Four-time Olympic medallist Ato Boldon has revealed that the members of the T&T women's 4×100 metre relay team never practised together while in Brazil.
Speaking on CNC3 on Wednesday, Boldon said when he saw the T&T women's team run 42 seconds at the World Championships in 2015 in Beijing, he told them they needed to work harder on their times if they are to medal at the 2016 Olympics. As part of the coaching staff then, he told them not to become complacent as they needed to improve on their times.
The T&T team at the Beijing World Championships – Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Reyare Thomas, and Desiree Henry clocked 42.03 to capture bronze.
At the Rio Olympics, the team enjoyed its best-ever Olympic finish in a women's event when Semoy Hackett, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Kelly-Ann Baptiste and 18-year-old Khalifa St Fort combined for the fifth spot in the women's sprint relay final, the T&T quartet getting the baton round the track in 42.12 seconds. United States won in 41.01, from Jamaica (41.36) and Great Britain (41.77).
Boldon, who coaches St Fort, and is an NBC track announcer, said it was important for the T&T team to improve on the Beijing performance. Despite this, the entire team never practised together for the relay events while at the Olympic Village.
Boldon said a team needed to practice several things if the members are to bring home a medal. He cited the lane infringement of the men's 4×400 metre relay team. He said the system had broken down and if T&T is to improve, there must be changes.
"I think we had some bright spots. I think we have, to be honest. I think a lot of the athletes went there and did not perform as they were expected to. There were athletes who could have performed better.
"I don't think we expected too much. Four years ago in London, we did well, so people say with all these medals in London, maybe we can improve on that total. I was disappointed yes, but you must understand everybody cannot carry the torch forever.
"I was extremely disappointed when the 4×400 men did not make the final because that is not a position we should be in. The system we have in preparing the team, especially in relays, is flawed, if not non-existent. We still believe as a country, we could go and have a thing a month before and gel the team and that is how we compete against the world.
"I don't want to hear any ole talk from any organisation. Until you can show me, how we going to change in how we prepare for 2020, then is only ole talk. This is not our worst performance. People have short memories. From 1976 when Hasely won to 1996, there was nothing."
Boldon called for fundamental changes in the club system, and how T&T prepare its teams, particularly its relay teams. "Imagine in 2016, we went to the Olympics with that 4×100 women relay team, without us having a practice with everybody present, " Boldon declared.
The former T&T sprinter said a number of countries have started to plan for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. He said the planning must start now, not wait until the Olympics are around the corner.
Trinidad and Tobago's Michelle-Lee Ahye competes in the women's 100-metres at the 2016 Summer Olympics at the Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. AP Photo