With tears rolling down her cheeks, Kelly-Ann Baptiste lamented her cruel fate.

For the third time in as many Olympic Games, a baton bungle ended Trinidad and Tobago's women's 4x100 metres campaign. On each occasion, Baptiste was part of the team.

"I can't explain it," she told the Express. "It's hard, because we all trained really good and wanted to come out here and have a good performance. To feel like you've done all you could in practice, and to train so hard and to come up short is just disappointing."

Michelle-Lee Ahye ran the leadoff leg for T&T in yesterday's final, at the Olympic Stadium, here in London, England. At the changeover, Baptiste reached for the baton, and reached again, but the exchange was never completed, and the country's hopes of a first-ever Olympic medal in a women's event were dashed.

"I don't have anything to say," said Baptiste. "We didn't make the handoff. I really couldn't tell you (what went wrong). I just didn't get the stick. "I can't question God," she continued, "so I'm just going to keep my head up and keep pushing."

Third leg runner Kai Selvon and anchorwoman Semoy Hackett watched on in agony, powerless to change T&T's fate.

United States struck gold, obliterating the world record in the process. Tianna Madison, 200m gold medallist Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter got the baton round the track in a jaw-dropping 40.82 seconds, slicing more than half a second off the 41.37 standard, established way back in 1985 by East Germany.

Jamaica picked up silver in a national record time of 41.41 seconds, while bronze went to Ukraine in 42.04—also a new national standard.

At four o'clock this afternoon (T&T time), Richard Thompson, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Keston Bledman will bid for honours in the men's 4x100m final.

In the qualifying round, yesterday, the T&T quartet finished third in heat two in 38.10 seconds to secure an automatic berth in the championship race. United States produced a new national record, 37.38 seconds, to win the race, beating Japan (38.07) into second spot. Jamaica topped heat one in 37.39 seconds.

Thompson ran the leadoff leg for T&T, yesterday, handing the baton to Burns. Callender had third leg responsibilities, and Bledman anchored. The same quartet earned silver for T&T at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Four years ago, however, Bledman led off and Thompson anchored.

"We all have faith in the leg that we're running," Thompson told the Express, "and we believe this is the best order for us to win a medal. We know our chances are strong, so we just have to execute properly. I feel like the execution could have been a little better , so as long as everything is cleaned up tomorrow (today), there's no doubt in my mind that we could win a medal.

"With a relay, anything can go wrong, anything is possible, so it was just about getting the stick around. We thank God we were able to do that, and have a berth into the final."

Burns said he is pleased to be in the medal race.

"We made it to the next round, and that's all that matters. Each of us know what's at stake and the adjustments we need to make for the final. But we'll be okay."

Callender is confident of earning a second Olympic sprint relay medal.

"One hundred per cent. In all things, just having faith in God, anything is possible."

Bledman had some work to do on the home straight, yesterday, to ensure T&T claimed one of the three automatic qualifying berths up for grabs in heat two. "This is the first time we ever tried this order, but we trust in the team and trust in God. Tomorrow (today) is a different day. We're going to go out even tougher."

T&T have been drawn way out in lane nine for today's championship race. Defending champions Jamaica will run in lane six, next to United States, in seven.

Keshorn Walcott will be at the Olympic Stadium today, for the 2.20 p.m. (T&T time) men's javelin final. When he takes his first throw in the competition, the 19-year-old will become the first male field athlete from T&T to compete in an Olympic final.

By Kwame Laurence

Source: www.trinidadexpress.com

DEXTER VOISIN, manager of the Trinidad and Tobago team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, stated his delight in the performances of the national athletes, in track and field as well as the other sporting disciplines.

In an interview from London on Tuesday, Voisin said, “we can safely say so far we are having one of the better Olympics in terms of the amount of finals that we are in.

“And not just track and field but the whole Trinidad and Tobago team,” he added. “Njisane Phillip (and) George Bovell reaching semi-finals (respectively in cycling and, in Bovell’s case, 50m freestyle final).

Voisin continued, “but if you focus on track and field, so far we had five finalists (up until Tuesday) and one bronze medal. That is a very good achievement so far.

“We have a couple of events to go, as recently as Semoy Hackett who made it to the 200-metre final, for the women,” he continued. “That’s a first, for a female, making it to the 200m final.

“The track and field team, we have been having some good performances. I’m not going to make any predictions. The first objective is to get to the finals.”

Looking at the opposition in the track and field arena, Voisin commented, “the competition, so far, in the Olympics has been very high, seven men in the 100m final going under ten seconds for the first time.

“The women 100m final was the fastest final ever. The competition is very high and our athletes are doing well so far. Some of the athletes have confessed they could have done much better. From my standpoint, we are doing well.”

He spoke briefly on men’s 400m bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon, who rose from obscurity to claim a medal in Monday’s Final. Voisin acknowledged Gordon’s low profile, stating, “everyone in the world is asking (who is Gordon), even in Trinidad.

“Coming into the Olympic Games, he was an unknown. Basically what he did was shock the whole world.”

Source: www.newsday.co.tt

Keshorn Walcott is just 19, but he's already Trinidad and Tobago's most successful male field athlete in Olympic Games history.

The world junior champion added another important entry to his resume yesterday—Olympic finalist.

Walcott produced a huge 81.75-metre throw in the third and final round of the men's javelin Group B qualifying competition at the Olympic Stadium here in London, England.

The effort was just short of the 82m automatic qualifying distance but good enough for sixth spot in Group B and tenth overall. The top 12 throwers will do battle in Saturday's final.

Walcott told the Express he had to talk himself into the right frame of mind, ahead of his third throw.

"I said, 'Look, I'm going to relax; hopefully, don't foul, and put everything into it.' And I got it.

"I'm feeling great," he continued. "I went out there, didn't throw my best, but I still got into the final."

The Toco field athlete's personal best (pb) is 82.83m—the Pan American junior record as well as the national senior record.

"Hopefully, I'll get my pb in the final."

Walcott opened yesterday's competition with a 78.91m throw, and followed up with 76.44m in the second round. He was visibly upset with what he was producing on his Olympic debut and admitted afterwards he was intimidated by his big-name rivals.

"Honestly, I was a bit frightened. Going into the competition, seeing those guys, I was frightened. But I knew not everyone would have a good day, so I just went out there and did what I had to do. I held my nerve, got a big throw, and things worked out for the better."

There were some anxious moments, however. Ninth after his 81.75m throw in the final round, Walcott slipped to tenth after Julius Yego landed the javelin 81.81m—a new Kenya national record.

Walcott looked on nervously at the rest of the competition. Among the throwers who could nudge him down the standings, and ultimately out of the top 12, was reigning world champion Matthias De Zordo. The German had fouled his first two attempts.

"You saw me standing there," said Walcott, "looking at them. But I knew that just how I was feeling, they were feeling—with pressure on the last throw".

Unlike Walcott, De Zordo was unable to produce the big one on his last attempt and had to bid farewell to London 2012.

Walcott said he thoroughly enjoyed the electric atmosphere of Olympic competition.

"For me, it was great. It didn't pull me down. It gave me a boost, knowing that there were a lot of people to throw in front of."

Walcott is T&T's first-ever Olympic Games male field event finalist and the country's third overall. At the 2004 Athens Games, Candice Scott finished ninth in the women's hammer throw and Cleopatra Borel copped tenth spot in the women's shot put.

Walcott wants to raise the bar in Saturday's final.

"Hopefully, get into the last eight."

By Kwame Laurence

Source: www.trinidadexpress.com

In an already hot London morning, T&T 4x400 metres relay team made it even hotter when scorching the track at the Olympic Stadium, to win the first heat in 3:00.38, a new national record, yesterday at the Olympic Games in England. Some nine hours later, the 4x100m women’s team of Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Michelle Lee Ahye, Kai Selvon and Semoy Hacket, did the same, breaking the national record in a time of 42.31 and placing second in heat one, in the evening session, to also automatically qualify for today’ final at 3.40 pm (T&T time). The faces of Olympic bronze-medallist Lalonde Gordon, Ade Alleyne-Forte, Jarrin Solomon and Deon Lendore glowed with excitement after the accomplishment and the possibilities that exist in the final, set for today at 4.20 pm. Lendore ran a spectacular final lap, coming from third place with some 20 metres to go, to tie with Great Britain (3:00.38) for first place. “We had the right mindset to come in the top three. We went out there and everybody did the best that they could. We believed in each other and that helped us to come out with a new national record and first spot.” Not since the 1992 Barcelona Games has T&T had a 4x400m team qualify for an Olympic final.
The youngsters eclipsed the time of 3:01.05 achieved by Alvin Daniel, Neil De Silva, Patrick Delice and Ian Morris. Gordon, who gave the local team a strong start, had the day before, made a bold statement that he and his teammates will do well even in the absence of 400m specialist Renny Quow, who was forced out of the Games due to a hamstring injury. Yesterday he stayed firm in his belief that his unit can make it all the way to the podium. “We will get a medal, don’t worry,” said the always smiling Gordon. “I’m feeling great. I’m feeling that we will go a little faster tomorrow (today) because most of the guys haven’t run in weeks so after this first run their body wake up now so tomorrow we will go for a faster time.”  Solomon, son of Michael “Mike” Solomon, a former T&T athlete, who had specialised in both the 400m and 4x400m relay, and Ade Alleyne-Forte agreed with Gordon. Alleyne-Forte said, “I felt a little rusty in my first run in about a month but we got the job done and that is the important thing and we are happy about it.” Solomon added, “Like myself and Ade, it’s our first race in about month. We have been training hard but I had to blow the rust off but I was ready to run. We’re hungry for a medal. We saw Lalonde get a bronze medal and we all want a medal too. We’re going to go as fast as we can to get a gold medal.”
The second heat of the event was as intense as the first. USA and Bahamas were also given the same time: 2:58.87, in the second semi-final, to qualify with the quickest times overall. Cuba and Russia will join the top four automatic qualifiers in the final after they also hit qualification times in the heats. Any hopes of Usain Bolt appearing in the finale were squashed when Jamaica’s Jermaine Gonzales pulled up injured on the third leg. A South Africa team featuring Oscar Pistorius also failed to finish their heat after Ofentse Mogawane crashed out. As Pistorius waited to collect the baton from Mogawane on the third leg, he collided with Kenya's Vincent Kiilu and was sent sprawling to the track, a shoulder injury leaving him unable to continue. The Kenyan team was disqualified and the South Africans lodged an appeal which they won. The jury of appeal met and agreed to advance the South African team to the final, even though they did not finish the race considering that their chances had been severely damaged in the incident with Kenya. The women team bettered the previous record of 42.50 which was established last year at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Lee Ahye ran the first leg, giving T&T a good start. She handed off to Baptiste, who stayed close to early leader Jeneba Tarmoh of the USA team.
The transition from Baptiste to Selvon was not the smoothest of handovers but the national 200m champion regained composure and had T&T in with a chance. By the time Hackett collected the baton, the Americans with Lauryn Williams, running the anchor leg, raced away to top the group with a season-best 41.64. Third was Netherlands in 42.45. The other finalists are Ukraine (42.36), Jamaica (42.37), Brazil (42.55), Germany (42.69) and Nigeria (42.74). Speaking on the behalf of the quartet, Baptiste said: “We’re happy. Hopefully we’ll get some great passes to put ourselves into contention to win a medal. That would be good. We did not have a good handover and still got a national record, it is a good thing." With two down and one to go, their male counterparts will be looking to follow suite when they line-up in the heats of the Men’s 4x100m relay event from 2.45 pm. The responsibility falls on Richard Thompson, Keston Bledman, Rondell Sorrillo, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Jamol James from which the final team will be picked. “I think we will do well in the 4x100m relay. The race that we put together in London shows that we are capable of running very fast because we ran 38.23 in the rain and in the cold. The conditions were poor and we were still able to put together a fast time without Bledman,” said Thompson, the double Olympic silver medallist. “With Bledman back in the mix it gives us a stronger chance of winning it all.”
By Rachael Thompson-King
Source: www.guardian.co.tt

Nineteen-year-old Keshorn Walcott continues to create history for Trinidad and Tobago, advancing to the Olympic final of men's Javelin Throw with a herculean effort in his third and last attempt of the qualifying phase in London yesterday.

Needing a massive effort after registering throws below 80 metres, Walcott produced a huge 81.75 metres heave that sealed a historic spot in Saturday's final.

The Toco athlete finished tenth overall out of 44 competitors, bettering several more experienced and accomplished rivals including current world champion, Matthias de Zordo of Germany who failed to register a legal throw.

Czech Republic's Vitezslav Vesely is the undoubted favourite for the gold after a mammoth 88.34 metres personal best. Vesely is the current IAAF world number one and it would take a significant improvement from any athlete to keep him away from the gold.

Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway (84.47) and Finland's Tero Pitkamaki (83.01) have the next best two throws.

Competing out of Group “B” yesterday, Walcott failed to impress in his first two tries (78.91 metres and 76.44 metres) and was in danger of missing out on one of the 12 spots for the final.

But as he did last month to secure gold at the World Junior Championships in Spain, Walcott saved his best for last. His fans had missed his first two efforts due to the coverage of other events but for his last attempt, there was Toco's finest live on national television getting ready for history.

Unaware that his fans were finally getting to see him in action, the CAC Junior champion gave TT another finalist to cheer for with a powerful effort that was just shy of the automatic 82 metres distance but still over a metre short of his personal best of 82.83 metres.

Speaking with Newsday from London yesterday, an ecstatic Dexter Voisin, manager of the TT athletics Olympic contingent, hailed Walcott's achievement.

"It was a tremendous performance to go past that qualifying round. Javelin is mostly dominated by Europeans and it is not easy for a junior to come and do well. It's a great feeling for everyone and the coach and entire camp are very proud of him," Voisin remarked.

Voisin was also impressed with the way the TT athlete held his nerve under tremendous pressure on his final throw to come up with the goods.

"It shows that he is remaining focussed and listening to his coach," he said.

Yesterday, Walcott's cousin, Shaquille Roberts, who was in the spotlight recently for carrying the Olympic Torch on its way to the Olympic Stadium in London, expressed supreme confidence in his relative who he expects to give an even better showing in the final.

"I'm very excited because I think he would bring back a medal. I know he can do better than that," Roberts declared.

Councillor for the Toco area, Terry Rondon, who spearheaded the celebrations for Walcott after his gold medal in Spain at the World Juniors, was equally optimistic the teenager would place among the top three.

"God works in mysterious ways and we are all proud of him in Toco. Our prayers are with him and he is bringing gold to Toco. We are staying very positive and we know he will make us proud," he stated emphatically.

Meanwhile, former Soca Monarch, Bunji Garlin, congratulated Walcott via Twitter stating: "That boy is 19 years old (and) already a world junior champion and now an Olympics finalist."

Walcott's feat continued a remarkable effort from our local athletes who have reached an unprecedented seven finals while ace cyclist Njisane Phillip placed fourth in the Match Sprint and seventh in the Keirin.

Also yesterday, the American-based Wayne Davis crashed out of the men's 110 metres hurdles, finishing sixth in the semi-finals in 13.49 seconds. Davis got a decent start out of the blocks but fatally hit the first hurdle and never recovered.

By Stephon Nicholas

Source: www.newsday.co.tt

For the first time in 20 years, Trinidad and Tobago will compete in an Olympic Games 4x400 metres final. But the four men expected to represent the Red, White and Black in today's 4.20 p.m. (T&T time) championship race are not satisfied with mere participation.

In fact, Ade Alleyne-Forte believes that the Americans–gold medallists in the event 16 times–can be beaten.

"They're most definitely vulnerable. We're like sharks in the water. We're smelling the blood and we're trying to go get it, trying to get our food. We need to eat too."

At the Olympic Stadium, yesterday, men's 400m bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Alleyne-Forte and 19-year-old Deon Lendore, running in that order, combined for victory in the first qualifying heat in three minutes, 00.38 seconds–a new national record.

"I'm happy we came out on top," said Gordon. "Looking forward to the final."

After a good start from Gordon, Solomon continued the fine work, earning T&T a five-metre lead halfway through the race. But Alleyne-Forte, who came into the team as a replacement for the injured Renny Quow, found the going tough, slipping to third. T&T were still third when anchorman Lendore came off the final turn, but he produced a strong run on the home straight, leaning at the line to hand his team victory by the narrowest of margins.

Lendore, who bowed out of the individual 400m event in the opening round after finishing fifth in his heat in 45.81 seconds last Saturday, produced an impressive 44.49 seconds split in yesterday's relay.

"From the open four, I saw I wasn't really in the shape I thought I would have been in, so I came out in the relay to try to measure myself, so I'll go into the final a little more confident. I didn't get the first part of the race, so I had a lot to do coming home. I didn't want to come in two or three. I wanted the first place in order to get a good lane, so it could be better for us when we go into the final."

T&T will start in lane four in today's medal race. Great Britain finished second to T&T in yesterday's opening heat, also in 3:00.38, while Cuba clocked 3:00.55 to earn the third automatic qualifying berth up for grabs.

South Africa's second leg runner, Ofentse Mogawane, fell during the race, and his team did not finish. However, it was determined that Kenyan Vincent Mumo Kiilu had cut across Mogawane. The Kenyans were disqualified, while the South Africans were given a spot in the final by the jury of appeal. Solomon was superb on the second leg for T&T, combining with Gordon to lay a solid foundation for the record run.

"I'm feeling really good," Solomon told the Express. "My body's in the best shape of my life."

The second heat was also a close contest. Bahamas won in 2:58.87, the same time clocked by second-placed United States.

But though no T&T team has ever run under three minutes, Solomon is certain T&T will be in the hunt for gold.

"We ain't really care about time. We just want to get the medal, so as fast as it takes to get that gold medal, that is what we're going to do."

Lendore is also determined to climb the podium. "I'm inspired by Lalonde. He inspired the whole team to try and get a medal too."

At 2.53 this afternoon (T&T time), T&T will bid for a men's 4x100m championship race lane. The track and field team manager, here in London, Dexter Voisin, said that Richard "Torpedo" Thompson will run the leadoff leg, handing off to Marc Burns. Emmanuel Callender performs third leg duties, while the anchor leg responsibility is Keston Bledman's.

T&T will run in lane four in the second of two heats, next to France, in five. United States have been drawn in lane seven.

Heat one will feature reigning Olympic champions, Jamaica.

At the 2008 Beijing Games, Jamaica won in a then world record time of 37.10 seconds, while T&T clocked 38.06 to earn silver.

Source: www.trinidadexpress.com