Jehue wins gold
By JOEL BAILEY and Miranda La Rose Friday, August 16 2013
JEHUE GORDON gave a grieving nation a reason to celebrate yesterday, winning Trinidad and Tobago’s second-ever gold medal in the history of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Championships.
Shortly after 1 pm yesterday, Gordon, 21, narrowly defeated American Michael Tinsley to win the men’s 400-metre hurdles title at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia in 47.69 seconds, with Tinsley, the Olympic silver medallist, timed in 47.70.
According to a report on the BBC website, “Gordon hunted down the fast-starting Tinsley over the second 200 metres and won courtesy of a lunging finish.” Serbia’s Emir Bekric finished third in 48.05 seconds.
Gordon’s win was this country’s first World Championships gold medal since Ato Boldon won the 200 metres crown in 1997 in Athens, Greece.
This was Gordon’s second major world gold medal, having won the World Juniors Championships in Montcon, Canada in 2010.
The news of Gordon’s gold medal feat was even more important as it brought relief to the country, still reeling after a spate of murders, among them the killings of three teenagers, the day before.
The nation was also feeling down over news of doping offences which caused sprinters Kelly- Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett to be removed from the World Championships on Saturday. In the post-race interview, Gordon declared he just wanted to run the best race of his life.
“I just wanted to get my rhythm. I just wanted to focus on my race and go out hard, which is what I did.”
Gordon leaned on the line to get the better of Tinsley, following the advice his mother always gave him.
“My mom always (told) me to dip. She said, ‘push your head Jehue’ but I actually pushed my whole body because I wanted it so badly.”
On Twitter, Gordon wrote, “thanks to Jehovah God. Left it (all on) the track and now I am Number one! And to everyone who supported me through (thick) and thin thanks a lot.” And Tinsley, also on Twitter, said, “great race by Jehue Gordon. We left it all on the line. With two “PB (personal best)” couldn’t have asked for more!! Congrats!!”
Gordon’s proud parents Vincent Gordon and Marcella Woods, and brother Said, yesterday said they had good vibes he was going to win gold.
When Gordon, a final-year management student of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine was leaving TT for Finland for final preparations prior to the championships in Russia his father had told him, “Go out there and give them trouble”.
“I had a good feeling,’” Vincent, his father, said at his Papier Village, Maraval home. Vincent, like most of the country, did not see the race since it was not broadcast on any of the local television stations. It was reported live on one radio station, and someone called Vincent to tell him his son had won.
Even if the race was broadcast on TV, Vincent said he would not have been able to view it because the excitement would have been too much for his heart condition.
He has stopped going to see his son race for a long time now, he said. Even the delayed broadcasts tend to send his heart racing. “I just cool, but I feeling very, very proud,” Vincent said adding his son succeeds in anything he puts his mind too and he was a testimony to what Trinidad and Tobago can produce.
“He is home-grown, locally schooled and locally trained. He is everything local. He eats everything that his mother cooks for him,” Vincent said. Gordon attended Maraval Primary, Belmont Boys’ Secondary School and Queen’s Royal College before going on to university.
When Newsday caught up with Woods, his mother, she was at the Maraval taxi stand at the corner of Duke and Charlotte Streets, Port-of-Spain waiting to go home.
Woods, a national of St Vincent and the Grenadines, said she prayed with Jehue yesterday at about 2 am, and in encouraging each other to keep their spirits high, she told him that she was already seeing flags waving over his head. She told him that he was going to make TT and St Vincent very proud and they both cried. The tears, she interpreted, were tears of joy.
She told him, “God sent you as a messenger for Trinidad and Tobago, and also on behalf of St Vincent and the Grenadines because I, your mother, am from St Vincent.”
Jehue, she said, told her to be home by 4 pm. “‘Make sure you reach home for four’, he told me. I want to speak with you because today is going to be a happy day.’ I knew in my heart he would have won,” Woods said.
They speak to each other using Skype on the computer. Meanwhile, UWI St Augustine Campus Principal and Pro-vice Chancellor Professor Clement Sankat’s reaction to Gordon’s victory was, “Excellent! Excellent!”
Sankat said of Gordon, “We have supported him all along and for this World Championship, we knew he was capable of doing it.”
He continued, “Not only is he a world class athlete, he is a brilliant student who displays quality and excellence in academia. He would have had opportunities to study in any part of this world, but he chose his own University of the West Indies and for that we are also very thankful and grateful to him. Next time he goes to the Olympics, I hope he wins gold.”
Boldon, TT’s other World Champion gold medallist, said he was not surprised by Gordon’s victory.
On a Skype interview on TV6 News last night, Boldon said, “It’s been all over my Facebook and my Twitter that I thought Jehue was going to win.
“I went back and looked at the semi-finals and thought he had the best finish. And anybody who had the best finish coming off hurdle 10 has a very good chance.”
Boldon also predicted more victories for Gordon. “I think that Jehue is going to buck the trend and be somebody who (gets) multiple medals, in multiple Worlds and Olympics.”
Hasely Crawford, TT’s first Olympic gold medallist, was in his glee after the race.
“I’m overjoyed. It couldn’t happen to a better person,” Crawford said. “Earlier this year, he (Gordon) had been struggling, he had problems with his legs. I could remember meeting him at the (Hasely Crawford) Stadium and his head was down because he wasn’t running too well. He persevered and he won.”
Crawford also credited UWI, noting local talent can be groomed locally, as also happened with Keshorn Walcott, the 2012 Olympic gold medal winner in the javelin.
(Unfortunately, Walcott did not produce his same winning form at the World Championships yesterday, as he did not advance to the finals in his field event.) Gordon’s coach and mentor at Belmont Secondary Albert King was also happy for his former student. “I feel so good for him. He really worked hard for that gold medal. It couldn’t happen to a better person.” (See Page 46A)