Jehue Gordon, Trinidad and Tobago’s second IAAF World Championship gold medalist, was all smiles on Sunday night as he was greeted by family, friends and well-wishers at a welcome reception at Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain.
He was showered with praises and gifts after he won gold in the men’s 400 metres hurdles at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia last month and his coach Dr Ian Hypolite believes the hurdlers success will boost interest in the sport.
The T&T athlete followed up with another golden run in the at the Belgacom Van Damme Memorial IAAF Diamond League meet, in Brussels Belgium, on Friday . Gordon clocked a personal best 47.69 seconds to win World Championship gold ahead of American Michael Tinsley who was second in 47.70.
Tinsley was fourth in Friday’s race in a time of 48.60 with Gordon crossing the line in 48.32.
Gordon is only the second T&T athlete to earn World Championship gold, following in the footsteps of 1997 men’s 200 metres champion Ato Boldon.
Hypolite described Gordon’s win as “a massive achievement” for the sport in T&T.
“It is a massive success and of course people migrate toward success and there has been a lot of interest in the club and moreso a lot of interest expressed in hurdling and hopefully this will generate the type of atmosphere and interest we need to promote it,” he said.
As reward for his accomplishment at the World Championships, the Minister of Sports Anil Roberts announced that Gordon would receive the Chaconia Gold Medal, a mid-sized house and $800,000.
Gordon’s coach Dr Hypolite was also rewarded. He will get the Chaconia Silver Medal next year along with $200,000.
Of the rewards given to him, Gordon said he does not prefer one over the other, insisting “I am just grateful for everything that has been offered to me so far.”
The UWI student resumes his studies in two weeks’ time but for now he is enjoying his success.
“This year I’m kind of embracing the moment being number one. Next year anything can happen. I am just taking it one day at a time,” he said.
He is also willing to help out his fellow athletes saying: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I am here training at Memphis Pioneers and if you want you can send me a message on Facebook. Don’t be ashamed. I am just normal like anybody else.”
Of the Championship race itself, Hypolite said Gordon was confident and ready for glory and that made the difference in the end.
Hypolite said: “We knew the race would have been a tight one but there was this confidence that this was his time. His body was prepared to handle this situation and I think he executed perfectly.
“He was in a situation where his main competitor was on the inside of him chipping away and he need to have the confidence to be patient to make his move at the right time, which he did and like I said, he timed it to perfection,” he explained, adding, “Jehue had been racing week in week out against quality fields. We have always tried to make sure he ran his best when he needed to run his best and because of that, it has not been in our interest to encourage him to run fast all the time but as a coach I have control over that. But he has been known to produce his best when he needs to.”
Hypolite concluded: “It is very important to have achieved this because it represents an opportunity for local coaches to step up to the plate. I stressed that it is important to prepare yourself to accept the responsibility.
“When you take on the opportunity to coach someone who has the option to go anywhere in the world, then you recognise just how important that is and to do that, you have to develop yourself to handle that responsibility. It is a message for local coaches to do the same and to start producing,” Hypolite concluded.