Not a day goes by without Machel Cedenio having thoughts of securing a place in the T&T contingent heading to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, scheduled for August, and ultimately securing gold.
But even as those images occupy his mind, the champion quarter-miler knows he has crucial adjustments to make to his strength and conditioning training to produce the results required to attain his intended champion feat.
“I run fast, but I’m weak,” Cedenio told the T&T Guardian. “I am not as strong as I think I was based on the test they did (at the Michael Johnson Performance Centre). What we did, we went back to the drawing board, re-evaluating certain stuff so I could do better.”
Cedenio was one of nine local elite athletes admitted to a one-week High Performance Summit at the Michael Johnson Performance (MJP) Centre at its World Training Centre in McKinney, Texas, last November.
Jarrin Solomon, Richard Thompson, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Semoy Hackett, Mikel Thomas, Emmanuel Callender and Wayne Davis, were the other athletes enrolled in the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC)/ bpTT sponsored programme designed as part of this country’s Rio medal push.
He applauded the TTOC’s decision and firmly believes the decision meant officials at the TTOC believed in him.
“I am not the kind of person to count my chickens before they have hatched! So, I’ll just pray, work hard every day! Yes, once I put my mind to anything, I’ll try my best to achieve it. We (my coach Lance Brauman and I) talk about the Olympics every day. He wants me to go out there and win a medal. Once my coach believes in me, I can more than believe in myself to win a gold medal,” said Cedenio.
“I’m a medal hopeful. So you know once they believe in me it’s good. I think going out was there was the best thing T&T could do for an athlete. It’s really amazing that you can learn your whole sport in a week. With hard work and dedication anything is possible. Once you put your mind to it, you can achieve it. I learnt that sport has no age barrier. You can be 20 and win an Olympic gold. Just try hard, focus, stay in school and have fun.”
Cedenio was amazed by the type of equipment available at MJP to scientifically test athletes’ strength, fitness and endurance, whether it was by slowing down their running motion or quickening it. He expressed delight that programmes at MJP targeted the mental well-being of its clients and also prepared them for their interactions with the media.
The MJP Summit, therefore, in his view was vital for T&T medal hopefuls, heading to Rio.