Deon Lendore produced the fastest 400 metres run by a Trinidad and Tobago athlete in 22 years when he bolted round the track in 44.36 seconds at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Outdoor Track and Field Championships, in Kentucky, USA, on Sunday.
Lendore was not yet born when Ian Morris clocked 44.25 on August 5, 1992 to finish fourth in the men’s 400m final at the Barcelona Olympics. Two days earlier, Morris was third in his semi-final heat in 44.21, setting a national record that is still in the books.
Morris dived under 45 seconds just one more time in his career—a 44.89 run in 1993.
No T&T quartermiler has come close to Morris’ record. On Sunday, though, Lendore announced himself as the main contender for the county’s “Fastest Ever” title, his 44.36 run earning him SEC Championship gold. The clocking was a new Texas A&M University record.
After the race, Lendore was in shock. “It’s really fast,” the 21-year-old quartermiler told ESPN. “Coach told me if I came out here and did what I need to do it would have been around 44.6, but…
“This race,” he continued, “is all about executing. I wasn’t really running for time. I was just running for a good race and to win…the time was crazy.”
Lendore, who went into the SEC Championship final with a 44.90 seconds personal best, jumped from ninth to second on the T&T all-time list, racing past 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon (44.52), 2009 World Championship bronze medallist Renny Quow (44.53), Patrick Delice (44.58), 1964 Olympic silver medallist Wendell Mottley (44.82), Alvin Daniel (44.84), Ato Stephens (44.87) and Mike Paul (44.88).
With the 44.36 scorcher, Lendore also moved from 203rd to 37th on the global all-time list. He is the second fastest quartermiler in the world this year, behind reigning world champion and 2008 Olympic gold medallist LaShawn Merritt (44.14) of the US.
There was a new PR (personal record) for Wayne Davis II in the SEC Championship men’s 110m hurdles final. The T&T/Texas A&M athlete topped the field in 13.23 seconds. Last year, Davis captured the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) title in a wind-assisted 13.14 seconds.
Davis is joint-third on the 2014 world performance list, with American David Oliver and China’s Xie Wenjun. Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment leads the world with a 13.14 clocking, while American Ronnie Ash is second at 13.20.
Another T&T/Texas A&M athlete, Janeil Bellille clocked 55.67 seconds—a new personal best—to seize silver in the SEC Championship women’s 400m hurdles. Auburn University’s Gabriela Cumberbatch was 18th overall in one minute, 04.00 seconds. Mississippi State University’s Peli Alzola finished 28th in the women’s 100m in a wind-aided 12 seconds flat, and 32nd in the 200m in 25.47.
At the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Outdoor Championships, in Arizona, on Saturday, South Plains College freshman Domonique Williams finished second in the women’s 400m final in 53.47 seconds. Western Texas College student Marissa Gale was 11th overall in 55.93.
Another T&T/South Plains student, Jereem Richards finished third in the men’s 400m final in 46.17 seconds. ASA College’s Odou Hazel (48.17) was 18th overall.
Elton Walcott produced a 15.65 metres effort to secure fifth spot in the men’s triple jump. Walcott’s South Plains teammate, Shun-Shauna Mason was sixth in the women’s 100m dash in 11.73 seconds.
Kernesha Spann, of Western Texas College, was fifth in the women’s 400m hurdles preliminaries in 1:02.09. In the final, however, she was disqualified for a false start.
South Plains captured the NJCAA men’s and women’s team titles. Western Texas finished sixth among the women, while ASA secured 13th spot in the men’s competition.