THE YOUNGEST competitor in the finals of the 400 metres of the World Championships, Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Cedenio, says he would not be intimidated when he takes on a high quality field at 9.25am this morning.

Cedenio, 19, will face-off today against a quality field that includes five athletes who have proven capable of running under 44 seconds; additionally, all eight finalists ran sub-45s in the semis. Among the favourites today will be Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada who advanced with the second fastest time (44.16), and world leader and African record holder Isaac Makwala of Botswana who progressed to the finals with the fastest time of 44.11.

The Trinidadian quarter-miler will also be competing against the reigning world champion, American Lashawn Merritt and South African Wayde Van Niekerk, the only man to beat James this season. Yet another athlete in his way will be Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, the man who beat him to Pan Am gold weeks ago in Toronto.

“I am just going into the final to have fun, so I am taking it step by step,” said Cedenio.

“I thank God for bringing me through the rounds and you know it is a good step with Olympics next year. I just thank God that I am a world finalist right now.” After his countrymen Renny Quow and Lalonde Gordon were eliminated in successive heats, Cedenio finished third in the last of the semi-finals on Monday to progress as one of two fastest losers from the three semi-finals; his time was 44.64 seconds but his personal best, set this year, is 44.36.

One former national 200 and 400m athlete, Alvin Daniel has backed Cedenio to cause an upset ever since watching the southerner’s performance at the Pan Am Games. Daniel insists that Cedenio simply needs to plan his race properly. “I think he is the fastest finisher,” Daniel told Newsday recently. “But he’s leaving himself a lot to do (at the finish). Once Machel is with them after the final turn, the race is his.” Daniel also dismissed the fact that Cedenio is not as powerfully built as some of his rivals, such as the defending champion Merritt. “Quincy Watts (1992 Olympic champion) was a very big guy,” he said, adding, “But Michael Johnson (1996 Olympic champion) wasn’t a very big man. And you have to remember that our own Ian Morris was a small guy, yet he was one of the most dangerous 400m men in his day.” Meantime, Cedenio is preparing for the toughest race of his career thus far.

“The extra day’s rest will help in the recovery of my muscles and mentally prepare me for the finals,” he said.

“Depending on the lane I get, we will see.

Right now I am just grateful to be in the final. No matter what lane as we will all run 400 metres.” Cedenio has been placed in the innermost lane, as he will run from lane two and lane one will be unoccupied.

It means that at the start of the final, he will be the only athlete who can see the progress of all his rivals. The two fastest semi-finalists, Makwala and James will run in lanes four and five respectively; Merritt will attempt to retain his title from lane eight, while Yousef Ahmed Masrahi will occupy the outside lane (9), which many experts consider the most difficult lane from which to contest the one-lap event.

The Men’s 400 metres final will bring the curtain down on day five at the World Championships. Two hours before (7.15 am), Trinidad and Tobago will have three representatives in the opening round of the Women’s 200 metres.

Kamaria Durant will contest heat three, Semoy Hackett will face off against Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell- Browne in heat five, and in heat six Reyare Thomas will face the Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers, who took the silver medal in the Women’s 100m final on Monday.

Yesterday, Kyle Greaux was fifth in heat 7 of the Men’s 200m event in a time of 20.51 which was not enough to advance.


Michelle-Lee Ahye joined Kelly-Ann Baptiste as the only two female T&T athletes to contest the finals of the World Championships here yesterday but neither could earn the country’s first medal in the 100 metres which was won by Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Lee Ahye finished fifth and Baptiste, sixth, as Fraser-Pryce retained her title to give Jamaica a sprint double, following on Usain Bolt’s success one day earlier, in the men’s equivalent.

Fraser-Pryce was never seriously challenged, motoring to a 10.76 victory with Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands second in 10.81 and American Tori Bowie (10.86) third.  Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Browne was fouth in 10.91. Ahye finished in 10.98 while Baptiste clocked 11.01. Natashsa Morrison of Jamaica (11.02) and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagagbare (11.02) completed the field.

Earlier, Baptiste was second and Ahye, third, in their respective semifinals. Both were disappointed at not being among the medals but expressed satisfaction with their performances. Ahye was coming back from injury while Baptiste was returning to competition after serving out her time following her suspension since 2013.

Ahye admitted to being nervous before the final. “It was hell. I was scared, I almost threw twice but I got over it so I hope to learn from this.” She said she will begin to focus on the sprint relay later in the week. 

Baptiste said while she was disappointed at not medalling, she felt good at getting to the finals. “I feel good. I am a bit disappointed I did not get a medal but to be honest, I am not that disappointed because if you had told me at the beginning of the year that I would be in the final, I would have doubted myself. To come here and run under 11 seconds and make it to the finals is a great accomplishment,” she said.

Baptiste said she knew she was not going to see any one of her rivals on the inside because of where she was drawn. “So Tori had a great start  and I just tried to feed off her and when I felt Blessing coming on the outside at the end, I just tried to hold my form and hope that I was one of the top three because  it was hard to see the others. I ran as hard as I could and that is just what I had in my legs for this race.”

She too is eyeing a medal in the sprint relay. “I think all of us are focused for the 4x100. We all know that we have the foot speed but it is not about that, it is about passing the baton and we have been working with Ato (Boldon) on our handoffs and things have been going great, so we look forward to performing really good.”

Baptiste is hopeful that the support will continue. “I want the people of T&T to be happy especially I was happy that Michele was in the final. To watch a championship meet and see two T&T ladies in the finals for the first time in history, has to make you happy.”

The other T&T sprinter, Semoy Hackett, ran a season best of 11.13 but could only finished fifth in her semifinal. She too, was pleased with her performance. “I was happy as this was my goal to do a best time and prepare for the 200 metres and then the 4x100 relays.”


Like another fellow from T&T with the same first name, Machel Cedenio will be hoping to perform ‘like a boss’, when he tackles a high quality field in the men’s 400 metres final at the World Championships here in Beijing, tomorrow. Cedenio finished third in his semifinal yesterday to progress as one of two fastest losers from the three semifinals.

United States' Lashawn Merritt won the event from South Africa's Wayde Van Niekerk. “I would not change anything but overall it was a good race. I listened to my coach and I went out, which I don’t normally do. I didn’t feel like how I normally feel coming home, but it was still a decent run,” Cedenio told the T&T Guardian.

Cedenio, 19, will be the youngest in tomorrow’s final. Among the men he will face is Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada, who advanced after winning his semifinal in 44.16 secs. James will attempt to regain the world title he first won in Daegu, South Korea in 2011. Luguelin Santos followed James as the only two qualifiers from the first semifinal and in the process a Dominican Republic record of 44.26.

The world leader and African record holder Isaac Makwala of Botswana advanced with the fastest time of 44.11. Also in the field are: reigning world champion Merritt and Van Niekerk, the only man to beat James this season. The other finalists include Yousef Ahmed Masrahi of Saudi Arabia, who posted 43.93 in the preliminaries and Britain’s Rabah Yousif.

None of the names are intimidating the youthful T&T athlete, however. “I am just going into the final to have fun, so I am taking it step by step. I thank God for bringing me through the rounds and you know it is a good step with Olympic next year. I just thank God that I am a world finalist right now,” declared Cedenio.

Cedenio described the semifinal as tough. “I took it step by step and held it down. This was not the perfect race. I still have not found that race as yet,” he said. Cedenio is hoping for that perfect race at 9.25am (T&T time) tomorrow. “The extra day’s rest will help in the recovery of my muscles and mentally prepare me for the finals. The plan was to take it out a little faster than before and use my strength to come home.”  

As to the plan for today’s final, Cedenio said he will talk it over with his coach. “Depending on the lane I get, we will see. Right now I am just grateful to be in the final. No matter what lane as we will all run 400 metres.” He was also excited at the prospect of contestifg the relay final. “We have a good strong relay team with all the guys running under 45, so that is something  very exciting

The other two T&T semifinalists Olympic bronze medallist La Londe Gordon and Renny Quow both failed to qualify. Gordon finished 9th and felt a better lane would have helped. “Ah boy, If I had a better lane. I am a man that likes to run from the outside lane, so lane three was like two on this track so although I got to see everybody, it was not the lane I wanted,” he said. “I am going to get some rest and go out there on Friday and make the country proud. It is all about rest right now and focussing on the 4x4.”  

Quow finished fifth in his semi final.  ”It was a tough race. I gave it a shot and today was not good enough but we will  focus again. We have the relays and everyone is looking forward to that.”


Javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott may have set three new records for 2015, but the reigning Olympic champion was eliminated from the event at the World Championships here yesterday, after placing 26th out of 33 competitors. The Trinidadian athlete managed only two legal throws of 75.16 metres with his best effort of 76.83.

Walcott entered the championships as one of the pre-event favourites with a personal and season best of 90.16m but has been battling an ankle injury. “I just went out there, tried to perform well but it was just a bad competition,” he said. “No other explanation, just a bad competition. Of course, I expected better throws but I do not know what was going on.”

Walcott said his technique was off. “The distances were way off and you can see the results. There was a lack of competition for me since my ankle injury but my ankle held up good today and I am thanking God for that.  But I would have to say it was a bad competition because I was really out of it,” a downcast Walcott said.

In 2013 , Walcott also failed to progress at the World Championships in Moscow and a reflective Walcott recalled: “I guess you can say that the World Championships is not my friend. Hopefully I can forget about it and moved on, learn whatever I can and see the bigger picture. Next year is a brand new year, so hopefully I can do better in the major championships.”

As to the troublesome ankle, Walcott revealed thant it was not completely healed. “So I just have to go back and continue working on it because I do not want to start back training with any problems. I think I am going to call the season there, and continue working  on my ankle.”  

Walcott said he was sorry for disappointing his fans. “I know most people will be disappointed but this is how it is in sport. We have our ups and downs. I expected better because this is what I trained for  and although you know sometimes it feels like a wasted year, you have to take what it is and believe. Failure is a part of it. You need to fail in order to succeed sometimes as it gives you something to keep pushing forward,” stated Walcott

Walcott, 22, is optimistic about his future. “As for next year, I know I can throw long distances but I need to stay healthy. That is my major problem so that is going to be my main focus for the rest of 2015.” Another athlete to exit the stage was Sparkle Mcknight whose run in the 400 metres hurdle ame to a fighting end when she placed 5th in her heat.

“It was rough but I am grateful to having made it past the first round. My first 250m was good but my last 150m was not all that good. I think it was the tenseness and the competition that I had in the race. I made it get the better of me but it was an overall good performance for me,” McKnight said.


Swiss authorities have now uncovered more than 100 reports of suspicious financial activity relating to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

The Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) have been investigating alleged corruption in the bidding processes for both tournaments and has confirmed the number of suspicious incidents it has uncovered has now reached three figures.

“I can confirm that the OAG received so far 103 suspicious financial activity reports regarding the allocation of the Football World Cups in 2018 and 2022,” said a spokesperson to Reuters.

Last month, the number of incidents was revealed as 81 and the amount has now risen.

Organisers for both Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 have repeatedly denied any allegations of corruption.

Meanwhile, the man appointed as the chairman of FIFA's new reform committee has claimed that outgoing President Sepp Blatter has been "unfairly treated".

In an interview with Swiss newspaper La Matin Dimanche, Francois Carrard said: "There is something unfair in the way he is treated.

"I say that with complete independence.

"We are in the process of pillorying him.

"Unfortunately, it's always like that when somebody stays too long, the negative side gets noticed.

"This man has been unfairly treated.

"And if we talk about corruption, I have the whole U.S proceedings on my table. In the indictment, there is not one word against him.


Carrard added that FIFA's Confederations were a 'fundamental problem' in the scandal hit organisation.

He said: "A fundamental element of FIFA’s problems is the Confederations’ anachronistic position.

"They are not members of FIFA but are decisions-makers within the organisation without responsibility.

"This is a fundamental cultural and structural problem.”

Carrard, a Swiss lawyer and former director general of the International Olympic Committee, claimed he was unhappy to be presented with a committee made up of nominees from FIFA's six Confederations after agreeing to head up the Reform Committee.

"When I was offered the position, the members had been appointed," he said.

"I did not have a say.

"So I asked to nominate a fully independent advisory board of my own of five members, no more, because we have to work fast.

 “I will choose them, they will be personalities of experience, wisdom, international stature, who have had to cope with crises but who do not necessarily come from the sport.”

The FIFA Committee is due to meet next week in Bern with Carrard's own group meeting in October.

According to Carrard, FIFA's former Independent Governance Committee run by Mark Pieth failed because it "lacked internal relevance".

“His proposals were very good and we could take some of them forward," he said.

"But the process lacked internal relevance. When you are sitting on a cloud, you can propose whatever you like but there is no guarantee it will be accepted.

"You need to understand the realpolitik.”