Carlos Suarez lost his Olympic Games men's light flyweight opening round bout, but won the hearts of the spectators at the ExCel South Arena 2, here in London, England, yesterday.
Suarez went on the attack early in the first round and was busy again at the end. However, it was his Turkish opponent, Ferhat Pehlivan who did most of the scoring, taking a 5-2 lead.
Pehlivan also enjoyed the better of the second round, the southpaw stretching his advantage to 10-4.
The bout was not a great advertisement for amateur boxing. Pehlivan slipped to the canvas repeatedly, and produced little entertainment for the spectators. Suarez, on the other hand, did some showboating. The 19-year-old danced a bit and even eyeballed his opponent, in a display more suited to professional boxing.
The crowd, though, appreciated the Suarez Show, and cheered him on towards the end of the third and final round.
"Carlos, Carlos, Carlos."
There would be no big finish, however, from Suarez, Pehlivan winning 16-6 to advance to the round of 16.
"I didn't give up," Suarez told the Express. "I fought in the last round, maybe not as aggressive as I should have."
The T&T boxer described his defeat as a "horrible decision".
"This guy's in here slapping all the time. And he's falling over ten times in the fight, but I get a point taken away. Olympic boxing is not boxing. It's tag. Those aren't punches.
"I'm proud of my performance," Suarez continued. "At least I put on a show for the crowd."
T&T sailor Andrew Lewis enjoyed an improved showing on the second day of the men's Laser class event, on the Weymouth Harbour course, in Dorset.
Lewis finished 38th in race three and 40th in the fourth race to edge one spot up the overall standings, from 45th to 44th. On Monday, he was 46th and 43rd in the first two races.
Lewis has a four-race points total of 167, going into the third day of Laser action, on the Weymouth Bay West course, today.
Australia's Tom Slingsby finished second and sixth in yesterday's races to retain the overall lead. The five-time world champion has 11 points, while second-placed Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus won twice to jump from fourth to second, with 15 points. Sweden's Rasmus Myrgren (25) is third.
T&T's George Bovell was a non-starter in the men's 100 metres freestyle heats. Drawn to swim in heat four, the 2004 Olympic Games 200m individual medley bronze medallist opted to skip the event.
T&T chef de mission, Annette Knott told the Express Bovell is "saving his legs" for the 50m freestyle.
"Now that he's been in the pool, George is focusing on getting ready for the 50 free. He's confident he can reach the final."
The 50 free heats and semifinals will be contested tomorrow, while the final takes place on Friday.
Last Sunday, Bovell finished first in his heat and 29th overall in the men's 100m backstroke in a national record time of 55.22 seconds.
While Bovell is a veteran of four Olympics, many members of the T&T team here in London are debutants, including Suarez and Lewis.
Also on the list of first-timers are quartermilers Deon Lendore and Machel Cedenio and sprinter Jamol James.
Lendore, who will compete in the men's 400m and 4x400m events, said that being at the London Games is "a special feeling".
"Coming into the senior ranks," the 19-year-old athlete told the Express, "it wouldn't have been an easy task going to the Olympic Games. But I really tried hard to make this Olympic team. After getting a little experience with the (2011) Worlds team, I liked the feeling.
"The expectations right now," Lendore continued, "are to try to do the best that I could. I'm trying to take this experience, don't let it get the best of me, and try to turn this into a wonderful track meet."
Lendore enjoyed a successful freshman season at Texas A&M University, in the United States, improving his 400m personal best by more than a second, from 46.50 seconds to 45.13. He finished eighth in the one-lap final at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Outdoor Championships, in Iowa, USA, and then bagged bronze at the T&T Championships.
Also at the National Championships, in Port of Spain, he teamed up with Renny Quow, Lalonde Gordon and Jarrin Solomon for a three minutes, 00.45 seconds clocking in the 4x400m relay, the victorious T&T quartet breaking a 20-year-old national record.
"We're hoping to break it again. That's the only way we could make it past the rounds and get into the final. I'm looking forward to me and my teammates doing the best we can, hopefully break the record again and make our country proud."
Cedenio is also on the men's mile relay squad.
"We have a good enough team to win the 4x4," Cedenio told the Express. "My expectation is high for us to medal."
The 16-year-old athlete is excited about his first Olympic experience.
"I watched Usain Bolt at the last Olympics on TV. Now I get to see it in real. And Richard Thompson, our silver medallist, this is the first time I'll see him running on the big stage."
Cedenio is already looking forward to the 2016 Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"My aim is to bring home a gold medal in the 400."
James is here in London as part of the men's 4x100m squad. The 20-year-old University of Tennessee student said he is enjoying being around his more experienced sprint relay teammates—Thompson, Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Rondel Sorrillo and Emmanuel Callender.
"Always good to be around the professionals. It's going to expand my artillery for next year. It's going to be awesome.
"This bridges the gap," James continued. "Bledman and everybody else would be on a different level, then there would be me, Moriba (Morain)…it's creating a chain line from up on top."
MEDALS TABLE (After Day 4)
Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 China 13 6 4 23
2 USA 9 8 6 23
3 France 4 3 4 11
4 S Korea 3 2 3 8
5 N Korea 3 0 1 4
6 Kazakhstan 3 0 0 3
7 Italy 2 4 2 8
8 Germany 2 3 1 6
9 Russia 2 2 4 8
10 S Africa 2 0 0 2
11 Japan 1 4 8 13
12 Australia 1 3 2 6
13 Romania 1 2 2 5
14 Brazil 1 1 1 3
Hungary 1 1 1 3