Ato Boldon, Trinidad and Tobago’s first gold medallist at the “Worlds”, in the men’s 200m event in 1997, “wasn’t surprised at all” at Jehue Gordon’s 400-metres victory in Moscow yesterday.
And, former Olympic men’s 100-metre champion Hasely Crawford is sending all the kudos Jehue Gordon’s way .
Both Boldon and Crawford were overjoyed at yesterday’s 400-metre hurdles triumph by Gordon, who clocked 47.69 seconds to win ahead of American Michael Tinsley (47.70) and Serbia’s Emir Bekric (48.05), at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia.
“It was all over my Facebook and Twitter that I thought Jehue would have won,” Boldon told CCN TV6 via Skype yesterday. “I went back and looked at the semi-finals (on tape) and thought he had the best finish, and anybody who has the best finish coming off of hurdle ten had a very good chance.
“I did not think Tinsley would have been as close obviously, but I always felt that I was going to have to make some room in the club, that we were going to have another world champion.”
According to Boldon, Worlds gold should have come again sooner to T&T.
“We do not have anybody else besides myself that have multiple medals in individual events, and I think that Jehue is going to break that trend. He is the youngest medallist ever in this event, and I think he understands that this is an event that usually favours people with experience.”
Considered one of T&T’s best-ever sprinters, Boldon said athletes training at home should not be a hindrance to world class performances.
Asked about the distraction of Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett returning home under drug clouds, Boldon felt it did not affect the team too much.
“One (thing) non-athletes don’t realise, especially non-Olympic athletes, is that no matter what happens in that camp, the athletes there have worked for a long time to get to this point and nothing distracts them.
“To the outside world it is like ‘Oh my gosh, everybody is so devastated because this one went home or that one went home’, but the reality is, they have sympathy for what happened to their country women, but it is not going to deter, and it is not going to distract them.”
Crawford too feels proud that Gordon and Olympic javelin champ Keshorn Walcott are home grown.
Trinidad and Tobago’s 1976 Montreal Olympic 100-metre gold medallist described Gordon as a wonderful person, and deserving of the reward he has earned for the hard work put in.
“When I saw the semi-final where he slowed down at the end and still clocked 48.10 seconds, I was convinced that gold could be his in the final. But I knew he would have to want it and be willing to fight for it,” Crawford said. “I also feel that the 4x100m team also have a good chance of winning a medal as well, but they too have to want it badly, and be willing to dig deep also.”
Crawford credits 21-year-old Gordon for working extremely hard to regain the form he showed as a 17-year-old, when he finished fourth in his pet event at his first World Championships in Berlin, Germany. Crawford remembers Gordon struggling as a teenager, and credited local coaches Ian Hypolite and Edwin Skinner, UWI, and even TSTT for investing in Gordon as a teenager by sending him to China for preparation.
Further, Crawford said 20-year-old former junior world champion Walcott is going through his growing phase, and like Gordon has many productive years before him. He feels Walcott needs time to adjust to his first year in senior competition after shocking the field as an outsider at the London Olympics.
“I went through it too,” Crawford said. “I could also remember that Jehue was also struggling last year, and look what has happened this year.”