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THA to honour Lalonde and Tobago Olympians
Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly Orville London has saluted T&T sprinter Lalonde Gordon, who created history by becoming the first Tobago-born athlete to earn a medal at an Olympic Games. London said Tobagonians joined with the rest of the country on Monday in celebrating its first medal of the 2012 Olympics in London, after Gordon copped the bronze medal in the men’s 400 metres final.
On Monday afternoon, Gordon sent local supporters into jubilation when he pushed hard to finish third behind Grenada’s Kirani James and Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic. In an interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, London said the THA was organising celebratory activities to honour Gordon and the other Tobago Olympians, but could not say when they would take place. He said it was dependent on the availability of the athletes, most of whom are based in the United States.
London said Gordon’s achievement was not the only commendable performance and highlighted the efforts of Semoy Hackett, Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Jehue Gordon, who all reached the finals of their events. London said Tobago-born sprinters Josanne Lucas and Renny Quow, who bowed out before the competition owing to injury, would also feature in the celebrations.
“As it is always done, the THA is looking at paying tribute to all the Tobago athletes who have performed well at the 2012 Olympics. It is not only about Lalonde, but also Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Semoy Hackett and others and what they have done in their events.
“One of our challenges is that we have to depend on the availability of the athletes. Most of them are US-based. What we have to do is arrange the activities for when they are available to come to Tobago. I can’t say what we are going to do, but I can assure that we will do something,” the THA chief said.
He said plans are in the making and that the Assistant Secretary of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports in the THA, Huey Cadette, is at the Olympics and is in constant contact with the athletes. He said Cadet will speak with the athletes on their availability for the THA celebrations.
London also called on the Government to pay tribute to all the athletes who participated at the Games and said he would not object to monetary rewards. He said for the athletes to sustain their performance levels requires a high amount of expenditure. He said he expects the Government to collaborate with the THA for the Tobago leg of the celebrations.
“Anyone looking at the last Olympics in 2008, the World Championships last year and this year’s Olympics would realise that it is very challenging. For our local athletes to reach there, among the best in the world, and beat them is something deserving of reward.”
Commenting on Gordon’s bronze, he said it was an achievement that shows how an island with a population of 60,000 is capable of producing world-class athletes. He said on Monday, he planned his day in such a way that he was planted in front of his television to watch the final. “I was impressed by the determination that Lalonde showed, which propelled him in the final 30 metres of the race.
“I hope that young people in Trinidad and Tobago could see that it was not only about talent, but also an overwhelming desire to succeed,” London said.
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