4x4 men bid for Tokyo repeat
Tokyo is a special city in the context of Trinidad and Tobago’s sporting history. At the 1964 Tokyo Games, T&T secured Olympic track and field medals for the very first time.
Deon Lendore, Jereem “The Dream” Richards, Machel Cedenio and Dwight St Hillaire will be at the Olympic Stadium here in Tokyo, Japan today, bidding to honour the 1964 pioneers with precious metal of their own.
“No pressure upon us,” Richards told the Express, “but we always want to do our best in the 4x4 because it’s one of the events for which our country is very well known. Every time we go out there we look to put our best foot forward and represent Trinidad and Tobago to the best of our abilities and to the level that has been put before us.”
At the ’64 Games, Wendell Mottley earned Men’s 400m silver, Edwin Roberts bagged Men’s 200m bronze, and Edwin Skinner, Kent Bernard, Roberts and Mottley combined for 4x4 bronze. At Tokyo 2020, just one track and field podium opportunity remains—the 8.50am Men’s 4x4 final.
In yesterday’s qualifying round, T&T finished third in heat one in two minutes, 58.60 seconds to advance automatically to the championship race. United States won the heat in 2:57.77. Botswana established a new national record, 2:58.33 to secure second spot. Poland (2:58.55), Jamaica (2:59.29) and Belgium (2:59.37) were the top finishers in heat two.
A strong leadoff leg from Lendore set things up perfectly for T&T. Richards was solid on the second leg. Cedenio then produced a superb run, propelling T&T into second spot, just ahead of Botswana. Entrusted with the responsibility of keeping his team in the top three, 23-year-old St Hillaire responded admirably, splitting 44.29 seconds to ensure automatic qualification for T&T.
“There was the regular pressure of running a race,” St Hillaire told the Express, “but during my collegiate season I’ve learnt to use that pressure, use the adrenaline, keep it controlled and use it when it matters—in the race and not before. I did a proper race plan and I think I represented well. So it’s only to recuperate and fight again tomorrow (today).”
Lendore was very satisfied with Team TTO’s performance. “I think we’ve found the right combination that will help us attain another medal.”
Cedenio concurred. “This is a great group of guys that went out there and performed today. We’re just going to keep the momentum and bring it home. Hopefully we’re on the podium.”
Richards said he expects the 2:58.12 T&T 4x4 record to fall in the Tokyo 2020 championship race.
“I actually was very surprised and not surprised in the performance today. I mean 2:58.6 and we all had a little bit more left in the tank to go forward. I believe that tomorrow (today) please God we should shatter the national record,” Richards ended. “I’m very confident in Machel, Deon and Dwight.”
T&T will start in lane eight in the Tokyo 2020 Men’s 4x4 final. The Americans have been drawn in four, Poland in six, and Botswana in seven.