Men’s 400 metres bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Renny Quow and Zwede Hewitt were responsible for a major Trinidad and Tobago milestone on the final day of Commonwealth Games track and field competition, at Hampden Park, here in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday.
The men’s 4x400m team combined for a three minutes, 01.51 seconds clocking, securing bronze and the country’s 50th medal in 80 years of participation at the Games.
“We’re more than grateful,” Solomon told the Sunday Express. “It’s great for us to bring back the 50th medal to Trinidad and Tobago, and hopefully we’ll get many more.”
Gordon, on the leadoff leg, and Solomon did great work, teaming up to earn T&T the lead halfway through the race. Quow kept the team in front, handing anchorman Hewitt a one-metre cushion on England.
With about 210 metres to go, England anchorman Matthew Hudson-Smith ran past Hewitt. Then, at the top of the home straight, Bahamas anchor Chris Brown forced Hewitt into the bronze medal position. Hudson-Smith held off Brown’s challenge to hand England gold in 3:00.46. The Bahamians clocked 3:00.51 to take silver.
“It feels good,” Gordon declared, after the race. “We all gave it 110 per cent. We didn’t have the ‘A’ team, but we put together what we had and gave it a good performance.”
Missing from the T&T line-up were Deon Lendore and newly-crowned world junior champion Machel Cedenio.
“The depth is getting better,” said Solomon. “I wouldn’t say we’re up to the depth of USA yet, but we’re definitely close, and definitely on our way there. Tonight shows that’s the path that we’re on.
“I’m satisfied,” he continued. “We came out wanting to win the gold medal, but we were able to come away with a medal, which other teams weren’t able to do. We’re blessed that we were able to do that.”
Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Rondel Sorrillo and Richard “Torpedo” Thompson got the baton round the track in 38.10 seconds to claim silver in the men’s 4x100m--the final track event at Glasgow 2014.
Bledman, who ran the leadoff leg for T&T, was relieved that there was a bright ending for T&T on a cold and rainy night here in Glasgow.
“I feel good. If I went back on the plane without a medal I would have felt sick.”
With the television cameras focused on him ahead of the championship race, Bledman made a “Z” sign, a signal that he was planning to secure precious metal for his 18-month-old daughter, Zion.
“All my medals are for her. I send her my love from me and my whole team. We love you!”
Burns, who ran the second leg for T&T, said sprint relay bronze helped make amends for the disappointment of Thompson and Bledman exiting at the semi-final stage of the 100m event.
“I know the guys wanted to put out better performances in the individual race. There’s been talk and comments about when we sprint at the trials (at home), we come overseas and cannot emulate the same performances. But conditions back home are perfect. Over here, everything is changing, so I just have to tip my hat to the guys for coming out here and competing at a high level. Thank God for the medal.”
Sorrillo performed third leg duties for Team T&T, handing the baton to anchorman Thompson.
“This was our smoothest exchange ever,” said Sorrillo. “We haven’t really gotten in any practices because of the schedules. They had the 100, I had the 200. Then we had 4x1 heats, so it was pretty hectic. But at the same time we still have a bit of chemistry that we worked.”
Thompson made a big effort to reel in England anchorman Danny Talbot, but ran out of track and the English got silver in 38.02 seconds. Usain Bolt, the fastest man in history, anchored Jamaica to gold in a Games record time of 37.58 seconds—the fastest time in the world this year.
After the final, Thompson told the Sunday Express that sprint relay bronze provided some consolation for his under-par showing in the 100m dash.
“A form of redemption for us. Coming into these Games, there was a lot of hype around Bledman and myself. People felt I was capable of winning, which I felt as well. People felt as though Bledman was capable of a medal. And to not even reach the final was disappointing.
“Just as I was very, very disappointed,” Thompson continued, “and Bledman was as well for himself, there are people back home who support us and put a lot of effort into supporting us. We felt as though we let them down tremendously. We tried to make up in the relay by giving them something to celebrate.”
Thompson said that while the goal was gold, he was grateful for the podium finish.
“We have a bronze medal at another major championship. We just want to keep building each year, to get stronger and do even better. We’re satisfied we’re able to get something to leave Scotland with.”
T&T finished sixth in the women’s 4x400m final in 3:33.50. Shawna Fermin and Domonique Williams ran the first two legs, getting the baton to Janeil Bellille. A courageous effort from Bellille moved T&T from close to the back of the race to fifth spot. Romona Modeste fought well on the anchor leg, but T&T slipped to sixth.
Jamaica won in a Games record time of 3:23.82, from Nigeria (3:24.71) and England (3:27.24).
And in the women’s 4x100m final, Deborah John, Reyare Thomas, Lisa Wickham and Kamaria Durant finished eighth, the T&T quartet clocking 44.78 seconds.
Anchored by Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica ran away with gold and a new Games record, 41.83 seconds. The other medals were claimed by Nigeria (44.92) and England (43.10).