PRINCIPAL of Queen’s Royal College (QRC) David Simon said Deon Lendore’s name will never die at the college, as any Olympian who walked the halls of the famous institution deserves a special place.

Lendore, a former QRC student, died in a car accident in Texas, USA, on Monday night. He was 29.

Lendore was a standout track and field athlete at QRC, not only at local meets but overseas.

He represented QRC in the US including at the Penn Relays, one of the most prestigious junior track and field meets in the world.

One of Lendore’s highlights for QRC was in 2010.

“In 2010, along with others, he won the Adidas Grand Prix Invitational for QRC against international schools from all over the world,” Simon said.

Lendore’s 4x400-metre teammates on that day were Jonathan Holder, Josiah Burkett and Jehue Gordon. Gordon went on to be an Olympian and a world champion in the 400m hurdles.

As a senior athlete, Lendore earned multiple medals. At the 2012 London Olympics, he was part of the quartet which earned bronze in the men’s 4x400m event.

In 2019, Lendore won gold with his 4x400m teammates at the World Relays in Japan.

Simon said Lendore was a pleasure to be around.

“I would have taught Deon and I was his dean as well…to QRC, Deon was a treasure. Deon was the typical QRC young man – getting into some trouble from time to time. He was always a very jovial character. Deon was always very respectable and he was very respectful. He was a good student, he was a phenomenal athlete and he displayed that athletic talent in QRC from a very early age.”

Lendore had been based in the US for years, but Simon said he never forgot his roots.

“He would have had a really close relationship with (former teacher) Mr Wayne Marcano. Whenever Deon was Trinidad…Deon would pass in school. Always willing to pass on his knowledge to whoever would listen.”

QRC will honour Lendore’s legacy, said Simon.

“His memory is never going to die in QRC…all of our Olympians deserve a special place.”

Marcano was a teacher at QRC with responsibility for the co-curricular activity of track and field.

“Losing Deon is a bitter pill to swallow and learning of his passing really hit me hard,” Marcano said.

Marcano shared his memories of Lendore’s track and field prowess at the school, saying, “QRC was one of the dominant schools for track and field in TT and we also attended the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Relay Festival (Penn Relays) annually. Deon made himself known to me with his first statement, being, ‘I making that Penn Relays team next year regardless of who else vying for the team. You not leaving me back in school next year.’”

Marcano said Lendore backed up his words and was on the plane the following year.

“So said, so done. He made the team. The rest is history. Deon was excellent as an athlete, team leader and motivator to his team- mates.”

Marcano said Lendore was a colourful character, but knew when it was time to put all joking aside.

“He knew when he could clown around and be the life of the settings and when he had to get serious and focus to get the job done. Regardless of the challenges on and off the field of play Deon always gave 100 per cent and literally was always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that he as an individual and the team achieved success.”

Lendore was admired during his time at QRC, Marcano said.

“At QRC he was well known for his contributions, loved by his peers and respected by his teachers for his work ethics and discipline in and outside of the classroom. He would be missed for he was a gem in every right and he touched the hearts of many. May God continue to bless him and may his soul rest in peace…Amen.”

Head prefect at QRC Obasi Charles said when a former student achieves so much in life, students will want to emulate that success.

“Deon Lendore (is) not just a national hero, bringing so much value to the sporting world, he was a true Royalian…those who may want to pursue different activities like track, as he did, he would be an inspiration to them, as QRC does not only focus on the academic side. They try to bring a holistic education to the students.”

Editor's note:  Reporter Jelani Beckles is a QRC alumnus (1997-2002)