T&T and quartet of Jarrin Solomon, Jereem Richards, Machel Cedenio and Lalonde Gordon, each produced the runs of their lives to deliver as promised, the men’s 4×400 metres relay gold medal which brought the curtain down on the 2017 IAAF World Championship at the Olympic Stadium in London, England yesterday.
Their performance (2:58.12, the fastest time in the world this year and season’s best) denied the United States of America a seventh consecutive gold medal in the event and ensured that they shared in the closing events which included the greatest sprinter in the history of track and field Jamaica’s Usain Bolt honoured and paraded before a sold out stadium. Bolt, who has eight Olympic Games gold medals and 11 world championships titles was celebrated by the sporting world as his athletic career came to an end as he heads off into retirement.
On Saturday, following their semi-final run of 2:5935 seconds to qualify for the title run behind the Americans, the T&T runners had promised to “Blind them” with speed in the final and that is exactly what they did from the first leg by Solomon running from lane seven with the Americans in the favourable lane four and the home team in three.
Richards’ second leg was blistering especially his final 150 metres as he handed off to Cedenio in third place and he too was not to be out done and to lived up the team’s promise of “Blinding Speed”, before he passed off to Gordon, who flew up the back stretch then went into over-drive in the final 50 metres, passing the American anchor. He crossed the finish-line beating his chest with his left-hand in celebrations, much to the delight and cheers of the pack stadium crowd.
The USA clocked 2:58.61 seconds for the silver medals and Britain recorded 2:59.00 seconds for the bronze.
After completing the historic gold medal charge, Gordon told Guardian Media Sports: “The instructions were clear, we knew that if we stayed close with Kerley, (Fred, the US anchor) that he would crack, so I tracked him all the way, and then took the lead in the straight and said I am gone, this is gold for Trinidad and Tobago.
I have never felt so happy. I told you we would blind them and we did.”
He added: “Can I say, I was just focused and can I tell you that I was fearless today, I was just going out there to give of my best for my team and my country. So blind them all, we have done it.”
Cedenio was clear about one thing: “I had made up my mind, that all I had to do was give the baton to Lalonde and given his bad mind, I knew he would fight all the way. I was just making noise, blind them, blind them.”
Richards, who ran a near perfect second leg said: “It was just a great feeling, we are a team and this is our Independence Day message for the people of this country. “Our country can achieve if we work together.”
Richards, a bronze medallist in the men’s 200 metres sprint added: “This feels like if we have just run this race, I can run again. I’m just so much into this because the love is so definite. We blind them today, blind them.”
Solomon who stepped forward replacing Renny Quow, who ran the semi-finals, was ecstatic and said: “I just wanted to give Jereem the baton in a comfortable position knowing that his foot speed was going to give us a great chance and so said so done. We just need support and for people to believe in us, that’s what we want. Please help us.”
He continued: “Let us hope it is not only when we succeed that we can get this support. It needs to be all the time.
We’ve to thank God and our family because they got us there. It’s a fantastic feeling.”