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Anil: Never discount the underdog
Never discount an underdog! That was the response from Sports Minister Anil Roberts yesterday to the bronze medal earned by T&T sprinter LaLonde Gordon in the men’s 400 metre sprint event of the 2012 London Olympics. It was the first medal earned by T&T at the Games which began just over a week ago. Tobago-born Gordon becomes the second T&T national to win a medal in the Olympic 400 metres event. The first was Wendell Mottley who took silver at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. In yesterday’s race, Gordon ran third to Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic who was second. Grenada’s Kirani James, 19, won the event placing Grenada in Olympic history for the first time.
Yesterday’s 400 metre result was described as a “Caribbean victory” by commentators. Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar, currently in Jamaica to attend that country’s 50th Independence anniversary as a guest of PM Portia Simpson-Miller was informed of Gordon’s achievement according to National Security Adviser Gary Griffith who communicated with her shortly after the event Sports Minister Anil Roberts, in London for the Games, said, 23-year-old Gordon from Lowlands, Tobago clocked a time of 44.52 seconds. “LaLonde’s race was perfectly executed and he showed that one should never discount an underdog.” Roberts hailed the Tobagonian athlete as a “revelation and testament to dedication and sacrifice.” He added, “ Athletics is the sport that has brought the most glory to our country at the Olympics so it is fitting that our first medal at the 2012 Games would be earned on the track. I hope the progress LaLonde has made, improving his Personal Best time twice over three races, serves to inspire us all to better our own performances in life and sport.” Roberts was also high in praise of Grenadian 400m champion James. He added, “ Grenada is the smallest country ever to win an Olympic medal and the fact that it came from a 19-year-old is no surprise. Kirani has dominated this race ever since he came on the scene as a junior. This bodes well for track and field development in the Caribbean continuing to make the region a force to be reckoned with.”
Arts and Culture Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas also said yesterday he was happy at the achievement. “I’m terribly excited and happy for Mr Gordon and for T&T that we’re still making a good showing internationally for the Games.” “I would also like to congratulate all the Caribbean islands which have made a great display for London 2012 Olympics, in particular Grenada whose Kirani James took home gold. I’m sure it has been Carnival since James won the gold and in fact Grenada’s Carnival is coming up this weekend, I think, so his victory has surely spiced up Grenada’s Carnival celebrations this year.” Other Government ministers who attended a lengthy Finance and General Purposes meeting yesterday in Port-of-Spain briefly texted that Gordon’s bronze was a “great gift to the nation” and “a fantastic effort!” Roberts said T&T’s Olympic medal hopes are still buoyant in cycling and athletics events ahead. Today cyclist Nijsane Phillip participates in another cycling event. Other T&T athletes perform in the 200m semi finals and Wayne Davis 11 and Mikel Thomas begin the 100m hurdles, Roberts said. Chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, Orville London, did not respond yesterday to calls about Gordon’s win.
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