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So close and so far

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Trinidad’s Cleopatra Borel takes a throw in a women’s shot put qualification round at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, yesterday. AP Photo
No, we did not shoot ourselves in the foot, neither did our athletes shirk the chances which appeared before them. The trek to the semifinals for Njisane Phillips did not come with the luck of the draw, but with some exciting strategy against opponents whose experience tally is much more than the twenty one year old from San Fernando. Failure to win at least the bronze medal can be described as success in being the fourth fastest man in the world and the fastest in this event in the Western hemisphere. No one can buy experience in the supermarket and Phillips will have learnt from this experience. It is my observation and assumption that he may well have positioned himself in a distance with which he felt comfortable to catch Kenny (GBR) the eventual Gold medalist. His calculation may have been miscued and he lost two close encounters. His lesson would have been to judge the position behind his opponent gauging his speed, especially when Jason Kenny had shown his hand so powerfully in the preliminary rounds. But, my friends, let us cherish the talent of this young man and give him the leeway and the financing to be more capable in Brasil 2016.
My expectations for a medal from Jehue Gordon were based upon his youthful beginning with impressive victories over the past two years. Even the British were enthusiastic about the potential and they endorsed it by showing a documentary of the young man on local television yesterday. In lane seven, the approach to the race in 400 metre hurdles may have been just a bit complex to the young mind. His choice of apparently deciding to accelerate around the final curve, possibly because he was unable to judge the positions of the runners in the 3,4,5 and 6 lanes. This may well have been the reason why he did not have the speed power to reach his opponents inside the final thirty metres. But again, we must cherish the prospect of another young Trini who is now the sixth fastest hurdler in the world over the 400 metre hurdles event. Our women were at the starter plying their trade in the 200 metres sprint and both Semoy Hackett and Kai Selvon were aware that a good first race in the heats could take them to the next round. They handled it well and  have left themselves with a fighting chance to enter the final eight tonight. Cleopatra Borell’s 13th placing was just short of what was expected for her to be in the final. We all know that she was much more capable than her 18.36 metres. Bad luck to her. My information on Lalonde Gordon was insufficient for me to rate his chances, simply because he was not mentioned in glowing terms and lived in the USA.
On watching his heat in a time of 45.43 seconds and placing second, it raised eyebrows in the track world and whispers became louder and louder. This shout became much more vociferous than before when he won his semifinal event in a time of 44. 57 seconds, one hundredth of a second faster than Kirani James, Grenada’s gift to the world of athletics (44.58). Obviously the world Champion was easy at the finish of his run, while Lalonde pushed himself to earn a good position in the final. What an impressive run from the twenty three year old, who seemed to have decided that bettering his time was more important than looking for his opponent, especially, James whom he may have analysed as a positive class act. He never fluttered around the final turn for home, but just focused upon his final thrust towards the line. One half of a step short of a silver medal, but the distinction of winning the country’s first medal this year must bring great appreciation to the young man and the hope of a better relay over the 400 metres could see him being the best person to pick up the slack by the absence of Renee Quow . Today is an interesting day and let us place our focus on the women and the 200 metres, plus Njisane Phillips second effort in the velodrome.


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