Hypolite’s fellow-coach calls on PM to answer

“Why did Cabinet rescind the decision to give Dr Ian Hypolite a national award?” This question is being asked by Dr Hypolite’s fellow-coach Gunness Persad. “I’m calling on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar,” Persad told the Express, “to tell the country why.”

Dr Hypolite guided Jehue Gordon to men’s 400 metres hurdles gold at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia. Following the triumph, it was announced by then Minister of Sport Anil Roberts that Gordon would be given the Chaconia Gold Medal, and Hypolite would be the recipient of Chaconia Silver. However, in August 2014, Hypolite received a letter from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport, informing him that the Cabinet decision to award him Chaconia Silver had been rescinded.

In an Express story headlined “Silver Snatched”, published on Independence Day last year, Dr Hypolite said he was embarrassed by the move. And in a letter to the Editor, published in the Express in September, the track and field coach expressed his displeasure. Yesterday, Hypolite told the Express he had nothing to add. “I have said all that I wanted to say in my letter to the Express before. I still don’t have a clear reason and idea why it was done.”

Persad, though, is not prepared to let the issue die, and is demanding answers from the head of Cabinet, Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar. Persad is also enquiring about the long delay in presenting Chaconia Gold to Gordon. “Why, up to today, Jehue Gordon has not been given his national award?”

Gordon became T&T’s second senior world track and field champion—following in the footsteps of Ato Boldon—when he finished first in the 400m hurdles final on August 15, 2013. Almost 19 months have passed, and the 23-year-old track star is preparing to defend his title at the August 22-30 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China. Yet, he has not yet been presented with his Chaconia Gold Medal by President Anthony Carmona.