Dreams come true at Mini-National Awards
By STEPHON NICHOLAS Saturday, September 15 2012
IT WAS a dream come true for members of Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams yesterday as they proudly received their Humming Bird Gold medals from President George Maxwell Richards at a special Mini-National Awards ceremony held at Knowsley, Port-of-Spain.
The members of the bronze-earning teams were competing abroad when the National Awards were held on August 31 but with the European season over, Richard Thompson, Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender (4x100m), Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Ade Alleyne-Forte and Deone Lendore (4x400m) were all back home and were presented with their medals.
Speaking after receiving his award yesterday, quarter-miler Alleyne-Forte was in a joyous mood and is still trying to come to terms with all that has happened in the past three months.
Bronze at the Olympics, a $300,000 reward from the Government and now a National Award has stunned the local athlete who in June was surprisingly contemplating quitting the sport.
“I’m really in awe because at (the National) Senior Championships I told my mom I was going to quit running. I was really going to stop. They took me to Olympics and I was really surprised but I went there just to do my best but not thinking we would come out with a medal. Now I am here receiving medals and talking to you guys,” he explained.
His teammate and double bronze medallist, Gordon, was in a bubbly mood when speaking to the media and expressed elation on being among the awardees.
“I feel really good and I am honoured to get this medal from the President and I am really happy,” he stated.
Thompson, who anchored TT’s 4x100m team at the London Games, was understandably pleased to be honoured yet again by his country for bringing home a medal. The 27-year-old received the Chaconia Gold in 2008 after earning double gold at the Beijing Olympics.
“It’s a huge privilege and honour to receive this award here today. We heard about the celebration itself on Independence Day but unfortunately we had to fulfil duties for Trinidad and Tobago still internationally so we were in Europe and unable to be here. We’re just thankful for this presentation and take great pride in representing Trinidad and Tobago. We heard about the great pride and joy everyone experienced leading up to Independence Day and we’re just glad to be a part of that and fill the people of Trinidad and Tobago with joy,” he declared.
Commenting on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s $300,000 reward for their achievement, Thompson expressed gratitude but said money was not their motivation.
President Maxwell Richards was delighted to distribute the medals to the athletes and noted that he was in London during the Games rooting for them.