Heeding mother, Gordon prevails
Updated: 2013-08-17 08:32
By Reuters in Moscow (China Daily)
Trinidad and Tobago's Jehue Gordon (right) trips after winning the men's 400m hurdles in Moscow on Thursday. Loic Venance / Agence France-Presse
Hurdler takes 400m gold with desperate lunge at the finish
Mom knows best, so the saying goes, even if the mother of 400m hurdles world champion Jehue Gordon has not quite got track and field terminology quite right.
Heeding her words to "push-ahead" to the line, the 21-year-old from Trinidad and Tobago came of age to fulfil a talent, nurtured, honed and refined in the twin island republic.
In a thrilling finish, Gordon threw himself at the line to pip Michael Tinsley by one hundredth of a second to take gold in 47.69, his power-packed finish and lunge, leaving the American with another silver after last year's Olympic Games near-miss.
Part professional athlete, part student, former world junior champion Gordon credited the "crazy workouts" from his coach, Ian Hippolyte, as the reason behind his success.
"He kept telling me my body is in phenomenal shape and just believe in myself and let loose in the final," he said after claiming Trinidad's first gold at a world championship since Ato Boldon's 200m victory in 1997.
"I kept patient, I kept calm and I executed the best race of my life today."
But a non-expert - his mother, Marcella - also played a significant role.
"After the last hurdle I just remembered my coach telling me it's going be a foot race coming home. I also remembered my mom telling me to push ahead - she says push ahead instead of dip for the line because she's really not that involved in track and field," he said.
"My head actually left my body and went over the line. As Trinidadians would say, I threw my frame over the line.
"My mind was clear, I wanted to raise up (my head) and see my name at the top of the board."
Gordon doubted his proud parent would have watched his moment of glory.
"No," he said. "She does not want to have high blood pressure."
After a brilliant fourth in the 2009 world final as a 17-year-old, Gordon did not initially press on from his introduction to the big time.
His decision, though, to stay and train at home, and remain with the coach he had been with from the age of 12, he said, had now been vindicated.
"I kept faith in my coach, I must give this achievement to him because he's had a lot of criticism over the years.
"I wanted to be the world champion after being the world junior champion (in 2010). Now I want to be Olympic champion ... I'm just being patient.
"It's not easy on a 21-year-old trying to be a student and professional athlete at the same time."
Gordon, majoring in sports management, has just finished his third year at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Becoming world champion, he said, showed young Caribbean athletes did not have to go into the American collegiate system to progress.
"I wanted to show Trinidadians I could localize things. I could localize books and athletics at the same time, and show people I don't need to go outside (Trinidad) to be successful."
His victory lifted some of the dark clouds hovering above the Trinidadian camp after Kelly-Ann Baptiste, who won a world 100m bronze medal in 2011, and fellow sprinter Semoy Hackett missed the Moscow world championships because of doping violations.
"I really just wanted to uplift the team," Gordon said.
"Even though we have not been studying the Kelly-Ann issue so much we just wanted to be positive and feed off the energy we have been getting around the whole camp."
(China Daily 08/17/2013 page16)