BEIJING—Reigning Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott is suggesting that an ankle injury is not to be blamed for his elimination from the Javelin event at the World Championships on Monday.

 Walcott was eliminated after placing 26th out of 33 competitors, managing only two legal throws, 75.16 metres and 76.83, his best effort.

“I just went out there, tried to perform well but it was just a bad competition,” said the Trinidadian athlete who set three new records for 2015.

“No other explanation, just a bad competition. Of course, I expected better throws but I do not know what was going on.”

Walcott, 22, entered the championships as one of the pre-event favourites with a personal and season best of 90.16m. However he has been battling an ankle injury which he said did not hamper his performance.

“The distances were way off and you can see the results,” he said. “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”. Walcott says he is considering ending his season to allow his ankle injury to completely heal in time for the next season.

“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,” said Walcott. (CMC)


President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC), Brian Lewis, has expressed surprise at statements attributed to sprinter Keston Bledman after he pulled up during the first round of the 100 metres at the World Championships currently being held in Beijing.

Speaking after pulling up, Bledman said: “My season is done here. I have to pull out of all my meets. There is now no relay team because we were already down to a bare four, and sorry to say, this is on Trinidad. I told them, and my coach told them it was not smart for me to go to the Pan Am (Games). I do not know who it is, NAAA or TTOC, but I more feel it is TTOC because it is like we giving you guys funding, so once they call you, you have to come but (look at) no one sent their top athletes there, but I had to go. There is a need to listen to the athletes sometimes. It is not always about funding. Yes, you giving us funding but there are times when you listen. In the end it was not in God’s plans for me today.”

Clearly-astonished Lewis told the Trinidad Guardian: “I was very surprised to read what was said and I can understand the depth of his frustration, based on all that I have read and the situation in China where his aim was to do much better for all of us. At the TTOC, it is the same, we all want our athletes to attain their goals.” He said it was always the policy of the TTOC to ensure that an athlete’s welfare, health and future is first priority. “I can categorically without fear of contradiction say that we will never force an athlete to run where there are concerns over an injury. I have spoken with both the chef de mission, Dianne Henderson and the chief of the medical staff for the Games in Toronto, Dr Terry Ali, and both have no knowledge of such.” Lewis, who has started a campaign to benefit athletes under the banner ‘10 or more Olympic gold medals by 2024’ said that people who know him will know that he is athlete centred and athlete driven. “I do not know who may have told Keston this but it was not the TTOC.”

Lewis explained that while it was the TTOC’s belief that the best athletes should represent their country and they normally will have consultation with all related national organisations on such, there is a process if an athlete has to miss a games. 

“All the athlete needs to do is to present a medical certificate showing the injury status and of course certainly we will ensure he is withdrawn.” Lewis called on  Bledman to contact the T&TOC. “If the TTOC can assist him with any of his medical needs at the moment, he should contact us and we can sit down with him and his team and work something out because Keston, like all our athletes is very important to this athlete driven Olympic body.”


T&T’s four-time Olympic medallist and  former World 200 metres champion Ato Boldon, has accepted the role of preparing Richard ‘Torpedo’ Thomspon for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio.

Boldon, who is currently performing multiple roles at the Beijing World Championships 2015, revealed yesterday that Thompson approached him and he had accepted the challenge to prepare the 2008 Olympic 100 metres silver medallist for the prestigious event next year.

Boldon said he always enjoyed a good relationship with Thompson and had known him since primary school. “He called me and said:  “You know what? I do not have too many more chances at this but I want to be at my best for the Olympics, so would you consider coaching me?”

Boldon said he responded positively but told Thompson such a development would mean moving to Florida.  “So he is in Florida right now looking for a house. So Richard Thompson will be joining my team.”

Boldon said he expects Thompson to be in Florida very soon since his camp starts in October. “Richard will be with me. My camp is a lot bigger than that of three but I just cannot reveal who is coming. There may be some other Trinidad and Tobago sprinters as well. As of right now, only Richard Thompson is confirmed and of course Khalifa St Fort,” he added.

One of his key roles in Beijing is part of the T&T coaching staff where he is focused on the relays. He is working closely with the women's 4x100 metres team. 

“I have watched them train since we got here. I know how Michele (Lee Ahye) has been battling injuries and Kelly Ann (Baptiste) is coming back from a couple years off, so I was very proud of the fact that they both made the finals. America had only one person in the final and we put two. This is very significant. I wish they could have run better but I think this set up for a nice run at the Rio Olympics, now that they have reached the finals some months ahead of the Games,” noted Boldon

Reflecting on the race which was won by Jamaica’s Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, Boldon said Ahye may have taken herself out of the race early because of a slow start.  “Michele is a very inconsistent starter and when you are in a final with people running 10.7 and 10.8, you don’t have that luxury so she took herself out of it early.”

He thought Baptiste was a bit rusty. “When she is at her best, Kelly Ann can start with anybody in the world but she has not been starting with that kind of form for quite some time,” he noted.

Boldon said both sprinters have to time their season better. “The times that it took to make the podium tonight, Michele was actually running in April in Gainesville at the Florida Relays. You have to time your season so that you are running your best times when it counts. That is what all the athletes here are trying to do—time your season to be at your best when it counts the most.”  

Apart from his role on the T&T coaching staff, Boldon is also an IAAF brand ambassador and NBC analyst.


President of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) Brian Lewis has expressed disappointment after four national athletes employed by the Ministry of Sports were forced into taking no-pay leave when traveling to Toronto for the Pan American Games last month. 

According to Lewis, the athletes’ short-term contracts did not make provisions for special leave. However, he noted it would be difficult for elite athletes to be given special treatment by their employers when the Ministry of Sport could not accommodate its own.

“I was very disquieted to be informed about this,” he said. “I think the fact that they were employed by the Ministry of Sport raises some fundamental questions. Where is the moral authority now to expect that corporate T&T and other employers will consider representing your country as national service. I’m not saying it as a criticism, I’m saying it as an observation and it’s an issue that needs to be dealt with upfront.” 

Lewis stressed that the country needed to create an environment which would enable its athletes to reach their full potential. 

“We still have a lot of work to do and the TTOC is really trying to deepen the whole athlete-centered approach,” he said. “If we really want to achieve ten or more Olympic medals by 2024, we need to ensure our athletes have what they need.”

Lewis did commend the Ministry for its new ‘Podium Push’ initiative, though he was awaiting clarification about whether it would affect existing programmes.

“We have to make sure it is aligned with our various programmes already in place,” he said. “I am a big supporter of our Elite Athletes Assistance Programme. Yes, it needs to be revamped and reviewed. It has been Cabinet-approved. It assures that the TTOC is part of the process which makes for better transparency and accountability, better fairness and equity. 

“I think it is important therefore that whatever is coming up acts as a compliment and not a replacement for the EAAP. The reality is that we are in an environment where due to the drop in oil and gas revenue, the Ministry of Finance has called for belt tightening. If we are coming up with another programme, is it going to be at the expense of the EAAP? I think all these things need to be looked at.”


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.”