The 2012 Olympic Games in London begins this weekend and I will take a look at the pre-Olympic form and medal hopes of our beloved Trinidad and Tobago athletes. Trinidad and Tobago will be represented by 30 athletes and they will be going to the Games with one of their largest female contingents ever.
A lot is expected of Kelly-Ann Baptiste as she is one of the world’s leading sprinters and the World Championship 100m bronze medalist. She has a season’s best of 10.86 finishing second to World champion Carmelita Jeter of the USA in Jamaica recently. Kelly-Ann has high hopes of earning precious metal in this event in London. She has struggled with some achilles discomfort this year but seems to have put it behind her in time for the Olympic Games.
There are also high hopes for the men’s 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams. The shorter relay team is composed of Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender, Richard ‘Torpedo’ Thompson, Keston Bledman and Rondell Sorillo. The team is second on the 2012 IAAF Performance listing behind Jamaica’s Racers (37.82). They clocked 38.23 at the Aviva London Grand Prix a few weeks ago and I feel confident that they can medal despite a minor injury concern for national champion Keston Bledman. It is often how proficiently the baton passing is accomplished rather than raw speed that decides the winner of the relay. With this in mind maybe T&T can upset the all powerful Jamaicans? All Trinis keep the faith!!
There has been major improvement in the men’s 4×400 metre relay team recently. At last month’s National Championships, Renny Quow, Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon and Deon Lendore combined for a new national record, the T&T quartet stopping the clock at three minutes, 45 seconds. Gordon and Solomon subsequently improved their personal best clockings in the individual 400m. The 4×400 national record relay time at the National Championships put T&T among the top 5 times this year with a definite chance of a medal in London.
The women’s sprint relay team will also be contenders for precious metal in London. They have one of the fastest times for the year and their main competition will be USA and Jamaica. Semoy Hackett, Kelly-Ann Baptiste, Kai Selvon, Michelle – Lee Ahye and Reyare Thomas cannot be ruled out of contention for honours.
Surprises in store?
There are some athletes in the T&T contingent who have put together impressive performances in the last year and they may be able to spring surprises in London. George Bovell III in swimming and Njisane Phillip in cycling are two such athletes. Phillip has already been earmarked for success in the match sprint event in the 2016 Olympic Games. Even though Njisane is only 21 and making his Olympic debut in London he comes into the games with impressive credentials. In March this year he won the match sprint in the Pan American Championships in Argentina and followed up in June by setting a new national and Pan American record in the flying 200 in Colorado with a 9.775 second recording.
George Bovell III has also had some impressive results recently in the 50m and 100m freestyle and his decision to come back home to train under former coach Anil Roberts seems to have sharpened his competitiveness. George can get to the final in the 50 free in my opinion and anything can happen in a short sprint event final.
An impressive comeback
One of the great stories leading up to this year’s Olympic Games has been the road to qualification of sailor Andrew Lewis. Last December, in Australia, Lewis fell short of the qualifying standard to get into the Olympics. He was left with one final chance at the Audi Laser World Championships in May in Germany. At this final event 29 countries were competing for 12 spots to get into the Olympics and Andrew started badly, ending up in 15th position after Day One. He then steadied his nerves and gradually climbed into the top 12 to qualify. Andrew displayed much grit and determination and became the first Trinbagonian to qualify for the Laser class in sailing at the Olympic Games.
All the athletes qualifying for the Olympic Games are already winners. The gala Opening ceremony is out of the way and in a few hours events will be in full swing. RIBSPORT joins with all of Trinidad and Tobago in wishing all our athletes the best in their events at the Olympic Games in London.
LETS GO FOR GOLD T&T!