On August 12, 2014, after 16 months off the track, it seemed as though Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Kelly Ann Baptiste would finally be allowed to compete again after the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) disciplinary panel lifted her ban for an anti-doping rule violation during the IAAF World Championships in Moscow last year.
Richard ‘Torpedo’ Thompson celebrated Trinidad and Tobago’s 52nd Independence Anniversary with victory at the ISTAF Berlin IAAF World Challenge meet, in Germany, yesterday. Thompson clocked 10.15 seconds to grab top spot in the men’s 100 metres dash, the triple Olympic medallist forcing American Dentarius Locke to settle for silver in 10.16. Another T&T sprinter, Keston Bledman got to the line in 10.23 seconds to secure bronze.
France-based Rheann Chung led Trinidad and Tobago’s-women’s table-tennis team to a semi-final spot at the Qualifying Event for the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games which ends tomorrow in El Salvador. However, T&T’s men were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by the home team El Salvador.
Nevertheless, both teams have qualified for the CAC Games to be held in Veracruz, Mexico from November 14-30.
The T&T women’s team consisting of Chung, Catherine Spicer and Ashley Quashie, are due to meet Venezuela in one semi-final today, while Cuba take on Guatemala in the other.
T&T fended off strong challenges from Jamaica (3-2) and Guatemala (3-1), before sweeping past Guyana (3-0). Caribbean rivals Jamaica provided the toughest opposition, taking T&T to a five-match marathon in the opening tie. Chung gave T&T a 1-0 lead, with a straight sets 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 victory over Jamaican Dardrian Lewis, before Yvonne Foster beat Trinidad and Tobago’s Spicer 3-2 to level the tie at 1-1.
The Jamaicans took a 2-1 lead after winning the doubles, before Chung beat Foster to level the series 2-2. It was then left to Spicer to beat Lewis to give T&T the match by a 3-2 margin. Spicer won the first two sets 11-9, 12-10 and Lewis won the third 13-11, before the T&T woman won the third at 11-7.
Meanwhile, France-based Dexter St Louis, Curtis Humphreys and Aaron Wilson formed the T&T men’s team, which also won three preliminary round matches against St Kitts-Nevis (3-0), Guyana (3-0) and St Vincent & the Grenadines (3-0). But hosts El Salvador were more difficult opponents at the quarter-final stage. The home team won 3-1 to eliminate T&T.
El Salvador’s Jose Donedo beat both St Louis and Humphreys. First, Donedo took a three-set victory over St Louis 11-9, 11-4, 11-9, but had a tougher fight against Humphreys, who took two sets off the El Salvador number one, before losing by a 3-2 margin. Humphreys went down 3-2 to Eric Alves, while Wilson won the only match for T&T, when defeating Davi Diaz 11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8.
George Bovell III’s timing was impeccable in Dubai yesterday. Trinidad and Tobago’s most decorated swimmer, competing on the 52nd anniversary of the country’s independence at the second leg of the FIN/Mastbank World Cup in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, grabbed gold again in the 100 metres individual medley (IM).
Our national women’s team needs the support. But first, the TTFA must show itself deserving of our trust.
For the second time in little over a month, T&T’s sole reigning Olympic gold medalist Keshorn Walcott broke his national record in men’s javelin by nearly half a metre with a second placed finish in the penultimate leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Zurich, Switzerland, yesterday.
Walcott threw the spear 85.77m on his first attempt, which was 0.49m greater than the effort in the Commonwealth Games javelin qualifying event late last month. The 21-year-old, who took the world by storm in 2012 after becoming the youngest javelin gold medallist at the Olympic Games and the first from the region, was beaten by number-one ranked Diamond League thrower Thomas Rohler of Germany. Rohler also threw his best mark, 87.63m, on the first attempt.
Walcott was unsuccessful on his second throw but landed 81.11m, 77.38m and 83.99m on his subsequent three attempts.
Finishing third was Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki (85.12m).
T&T athlete, Richard Thompson, was also in action yesterday in the men’s 100m. He placed seventh in 10.26 seconds. Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole claimed a season best 9.96 to win the race, while Michael Rodgers (USA) and James Dasaolu (Britain) finished second and third in 10.05 and 10.06 seconds, respectively. Thompson is one of only two T&T athletes to have won a leg in the Diamond League this year.
He opened his account with a 10.02 finish in the first leg in Oslo, which was the fastest time. Michelle-Lee Ahye won the women’s 100m event in Lausanne (10.98) and Glasgow (11.01).
Jamaica then claimed the 100m double, with Veronica Campbell-Brown stealing the women’s race in 11.04 seconds in a photo finish edging of Ivory Coast superstar Murielle Ahoure, who clocked the same time.
Finally for T&T, in the men’s 400m hurdles, Jehue Gordon, who is ranked fourth in the Diamond League, clocked 48.91 seconds to finish fifth. Cornel Fredericks of South Africa won it in a season-best 48.25.
World record holder and Olympic gold medalist David Rushida could only finish third in the 800 metres, behind Botswana’s Nijel Amos and Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti.
Amos, who beat Rushida to gold at the Commonwealth Games last month, won the event in 1 minute, 43.77 seconds.
Souleiman finished in 1:43.93, edging out Rushida on the line by three hundredths of a second.
Elsewhere, world champion LaShawn Merritt comfortably won the 400 with a time of 44.36, beating fellow American Gil Roberts in 44.96. Isaac Makwala of Botswana was third in 45.03.
In the women's events, Dawn Harper-Nelson of the United States beat Olympic champion Sally Pearson and European champion Tiffany Porter in the 100 hurdle.
The Zurich leg of the Diamond League will be followed by the final event in Brussels next Thursday.