‘Don’t chase the money, but chase the dream’
Former T&T 400-metre World Champ advises Caribbean athletes about focus
TRINIDAD AND Tobago’s 2013 World 400-metre hurdles champion Jehue Gordon has shrewd advice for the new generation of Caribbean track and field hopefuls. Gordon recommends that they focus on their dreams rather than financial gain. He rose from...
TRINIDAD AND Tobago’s 2013 World 400-metre hurdles champion Jehue Gordon has shrewd advice for the new generation of Caribbean track and field hopefuls. Gordon recommends that they focus on their dreams rather than financial gain.
He rose from being a record-breaking double hurdles Carifta champion in 2010 to being World champion just three years later. Asked to advise the region’s young athletes, the manager of the 2023 Trinidad and Tobago Carifta Games team replied, “What I would like to tell them is that they need to enjoy it. Sometimes, as juniors, we don’t understand what we are really doing until someone tells us and then there’s also a lot of coaches and parents who put pressure on junior athletes. While I was growing up, I never pressured myself into running. I didn’t understand what I was doing until people mentioned it to me.”
Then he added, “The main important thing is to enjoy your craft. Don’t chase the money, but chase the dream. The dream, the hard work, the process, all those things are going to add up and bring everything else that comes with it. So, you can’t study the ‘what-comes-with-it’ before doing the foundation and the base work,” Gordon recommended.
His 2010 Carifta under-20 110 hurdles record has been broken but he’s somewhat surprised that his 400-metre hurdles mark – 49.76 seconds – is still standing.
“It is unfortunate that nobody has broken it since. We’ve had great competitors come through the Jamaican system in the 400-metre hurdles, running 49 flat at Champs, but they still never delivered when it mattered at the Carifta Games, but I guess at that time they just studied to win gold,” noted the 2010 World Under-20 winner.
The fastest time ever at Boys and Girls’ Championships in the event is 49.01 seconds by Jaheel Hyde of Jamaica.
“Nobody goes into a competition studying to run a fast time. You only study on winning or competing to the best of our ability, and whatever our best performance brings on the day, we are always satisfied,” the 2012 Olympic finalist explained.
Jamaica’s Roshawn Clarke came close this year with a winning time of 49.92 seconds.
Hampered by injuries, Gordon retired early. Nevertheless, his lifetime best of 47.69 places him at number four on the all-time Central American and Caribbean performance list behind Kyron McMaster, Felix Sanchez and Winthrop Graham.
Gordon is still lamenting the death of his international teammate Deon Lendore, who died in a car accident in 2021.
“Deon is somebody who brought personality, brought energy to the team and he is somebody that we still miss to this day very dearly,” he grieved.
Gordon and Lendore, a key member of the Trinidad and Tobago 4x400 squad, were high school teammates, as well as colleagues at Carifta, the World Under-20 Championships, and at the senior level.