media_artricles :: 2018
Beijing GOLD for T&T relay menRachael Thomspon-King :: Trinidad Guardian :: 08.12.2018
It has been confirmed, T&T will get its third Olympic gold medal.
Yesterday, T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis received a correspondence from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saying that the T&T 4x100 metres men's team of Richard Thompson, Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Aaron Armstrong have been upgraded from silver to gold.
"I am happy and delighted for the athletes and T&T," said a thrilled Lewis yesterday.
So too was sprinter Thompson on receiving the news.
He said, "For over 10 years of competing for T&T, Marc burns, Aaron Armstrong, Emmanuel Callender, Keston Bledman and myself, We feel most proud to be able to compete with honour and integrity and represent T&T to the best of our ability. Not just on the track but off as well."
The medal comes 10 years after the T&T team placed second at the Bird Nest Stadium in Beijing, China. Nesta Carter ran the opening leg in the 4x100m relay final for favourites Jamaica when Usain Bolt took the baton third and helped Jamaica win in what was a world record performance of 37.10 seconds. The Jamaican team also featured Michael Frater and Asafa Powell.
In a fresh analysis of Beijing samples by the IOC in 2016, Carter tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine. Jamaica was disqualified and stripped of the relay title. Earlier this year, Carter lost his appeal against the decision to strip him and his Jamaica team of Olympic gold after a positive drug test.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) had ruled that the re analysis confirmed the presence of methylhexaneamine.
Then the judgement said: "We do not accept any of the arguments raised by Nesta Carter contending that the test results should be ignored or that the decision should otherwise be overturned for certain alleged failures.
"We were waiting for the process to be completed. It has taken a long time but it is great that the athletes' commitment to compete clean, be rewarded," said Lewis, who shared that there are guidelines his body has to follow before the team can be presented their medals at a presentation ceremony of their choosing.
"The athletes have been given the choice of how the medals will be reallocated, with one of the options being a presentation at the next Olympic Games (Tokyo 2020)," said Lewis, who at the time had just spoken to Bledman, who teammate Thompson was honoured to be a part of T&T's gold medal history.
Being a gold medallist at any level whether its the World Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the Olympics, its obviously a huge achievement," said Thompson.
"Obviously, the Olympics is the pinnacle in all sports for track and field, for swimming, many other disciplines and we are excited about this opportunity to sit at the top with people like Keshorn Walcott and Hasely Crawford.
"I know, it has people with questions with the validity of how it was earned but something we need to consider is that Olympics is about the spirit of the Games which competing within the guidelines and keeping along the lines of competing fairly which our guys have shown for many years."
The TTOC president was late yesterday contacting each athlete to share the great news and also inform them that they are to return their silver medals, pins and diplomas by January 7, to ensure the smooth process of the reallocation.
The retrospective awarding cannot occur until the medals have been physically returned.
Lewis believes that the gold medallist should also be celebrated locally and plans very soon to approach the committee to reward the sprinters through the Athlete Welfare and Preparation Fund, a programme that came into being under his tenure.
"We have an executive meeting next week and I will be making a proposal to them to give consideration, notwithstanding that the event occurred in 2008 before the award and recognition existed, to award the athletes under the programme."
Launched in 2013, the fund has allowed for the financial reward of T&T athletes who medal at international events recognised by the TTOC, including the Olympic Games, Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games. In the case of an Olympic Games, T&T athletes who earn gold are awarded US$10,000 each, followed by US$8,000 (silver) and US$5,000 (bronze).
This brings T&T's Olympic gold medal tally to three, in addition to Hasely Crawford's 1976 100 metres triumph in Montreal and followed by javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott gold in London in 2012.
It is expected that the IOC will also upgrade Japan to silver and Brazil to bronze.
T&T men's 4x100 metres 2008 relay team Keston Bledman, from left, Emmanuel Callender, Richard Thompson and Marc Burns who will be upgraded to Olympic gold. So to Aaron Armstrong who was part of the squad.