T&T among 11 countries with four teams at Worlds

A new chapter of Trinidad and Tobago history will be written at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, in Moscow, Russia. Never before has the country fielded teams in all four relay events at the global meet.

“It’s a first for us in the history of our track and field in a major meet like this—World Championships or Olympics,” T&T team manager Dexter Voisin told the Express.

The 4x400 metres women became the fourth T&T relay team to book a Moscow ticket when they returned a time of three minutes, 30.64 seconds to strike gold at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Senior Championships, in Morelia, Mexico, on July 7. With that run, Shawna Fermin, Sparkle McKnight, Romona Modeste and Alena Brooks broke a 26-year-old T&T record, and dived well inside the 3:33.00 World Championship standard.

“Breaking that record was a big achievement,” said Voisin.

At the 2012 Olympic Games, in London, England, T&T earned bronze in two relays—the men’s 4x100m and men’s 4x400m.

“We have been consistent over the past ten years in terms of the men’s 4x1, and in recent years the women’s 4x1 have been in the fray too.

“The men’s 4x4,” Voisin continued, “were an unknown group before the Olympics, and went on to win bronze. We’re looking for a similar type of performance from the women’s 4x4. Since last year, that group of athletes has been speaking about qualifying for the World Championships. And based on speaking to some of them after qualifying, they want to go a step further in terms of making a final for the first time. Based on that drive, anything is possible in a final.”

In Moscow, T&T will field a women’s 4x400m team for the first time in the 30-year history of the World Championships.

And of the 200-odd countries that will participate at the August 10-18 Worlds, just 11 have so far qualified to compete in all four relays. The list is headed by United States, the 2013 world leaders in all four relay events, and also includes Great Britain, Jamaica, Ukraine, Poland, Bahamas, France, T&T, Italy, Brazil and Russia.

“Out of all those countries in the IAAF,” said Voisin, “to be among 11 with four relay teams is a great achievement. This augurs well for track and field in Trinidad and Tobago.”

But while he is proud of the four-team accomplishment, the T&T manager expressed concern about the current form of some of the athletes on the 29-member squad for Moscow.

“We are not in the same position we were one year ago with regards to the Olympics. Some of our athletes thus far are not on par with their form from last year.”

At the London Games, the country enjoyed its best-ever Olympic medal haul—Keshorn Walcott’s men’s javelin gold, Lalonde Gordon’s men’s 400m bronze, and the bronze medals earned in the men’s 4x100m and 4x400m events. Those four medals bettered the previous best haul of three, at the 1964 Tokyo Games.

Voisin is hopeful T&T’s athletes will strike form at the right time, and replicate the country’s 2012 Olympic showing.

“There is no reason why the athletes should not do well. Kelly-Ann Baptiste has been performing well for the season...(Keston) Bledman also. Generally, I’m very optimistic. Once the athletes settle down, we can expect performances like last year.

“Moscow wouldn’t be one of the easiest Worlds, in terms of weather. It will be cold, from all indications. The athletes need to expect anything out of the ordinary,” Voisin ended, “and adapt as quickly as possible.”

T&T’s World Championship team will leave for Finland tomorrow for a ten-day training camp. The athletes will travel from Finland to Russia on Tuesday, August 6.


Men—Keston Bledman (100, 4x100), Richard Thompson (100, 4x100), Rondel Sorrillo (100, 4x100), Lalonde Gordon (200, 4x400), Kyle Greaux (200), Deon Lendore (400, 4x400), Jarrin Solomon (400, 4x400), Mikel Thomas (110 hurdles), Wayne Davis II (110 hurdles), Jehue Gordon (400 hurdles), Keshorn Walcott (javelin), Jamol James (4x100), Ayodele Taffe (4x100), Emmanuel Callender (4x100), Renny Quow (4x400), Machel Cedenio (4x400)

Women—Kelly-Ann Baptiste (100, 200, 4x100), Michelle-Lee Ahye (100, 200, 4x100), Kai Selvon (100, 200, 4x100, 4x400), Semoy Hackett (200, 4x100), Sparkle McKnight (400 hurdles, 4x400), Aleesha Barber (100 hurdles, 4x100), Cleopatra Borel (shot put), Reyare Thomas (4x100), Kamaria Durant (4x100), Shawna Fermin (4x400), Alena Brooks (4x400), Romona Modeste (4x400), Domonique Williams (4x400)

Officials—Dexter Voisin (manager), Ismael Lopez (throws coach), Ian Hypolite (sprints/hurdles coach), Gunness Persad (sprints/4x100 men coach), Charlie Joseph (sprints/4x400 men coach), Edwin Skinner (sprints/4x100 women coach), Gerard Franklyn (sprints/4x400 women coach), Anyl Gopeesingh (doctor), Ian Sharpe (massage therapist), Fitzbert Alleyne (massage therapist), Verne Alleyne