We have a target on our backs – T&T’s Lendore
Trinidad and Tobago’s World champion 4x400m relay team has a target on its back. That’s the view expressed by Deon Lendore, a member of the team that triumphed on May 12 at the IAAF World Relay Games in Yokohama, Japan. Lendore believes the United States (US) will seek revenge when they meet at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
In Yokohama, Trinidad and Tobago edged the US on the line, and though the Americans suffered a lane-violation disqualification, it was a riveting contest.
“It sets us up for World Champs in a good way and a bad way,” Lendore, who ran the first leg, said. “We have the confidence going into World Champs, but now we know we have the target on our backs times two because this is the second time we’ve done something like this to the United States, so we know they really want vengeance,” he told the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian last week.
The men in red, white and black beat the US in London to win the four-lap relay at the 2017 World Champs in a national record time of 2:58.12 minutes, with Jereem Richards, Machel Cedenio and 2012 Olympic 400m third-place finisher Lalonde Gordon blitzing relay splits of 43.5, 44.4 and 44.1 seconds, respectively, to give their country its first World title since Ato Boldon won gold over 200m.
At the World Relays, Lendore, World 200m bronze-medal winner Richards, and Asa Guevara gave anchorman Cedenio lots of work to do to catch the Americans, but the 2014 World Under-20 champion produced a sparkling 44.4-second leg to snatch the victory with his last step.
Lendore was confident that Cedenio, a 2016 Olympic finalist, would get the job done.
“He’s been there before, and I knew he had the capability of coming through with the victory,” the proud 26-year-old said.
The victories in London and Yokohama have extended Trinidad and Tobago’s storied 4x400m tradition. The annals of its track and field history include an Olympic bronze in 1964 and a World 4x440 yard record, on Jamaican soil, at the 1966 Commonwealth Games. More recently, Trinidad and Tobago won bronze in the 2012 Olympics and silver at the 2015 World Championships before its big win in 2017.
A stout defence of the World title this October in Doha, is in the making.
“It also pushes us in practice,” said Lendore, who ran the anchor leg at the 2012 Olympics. “So we work twice as hard knowing that the target is on our back again.”