Giant in training

Trinidad - Jehue Gordon, winner in the boys 17 and under category at bmobile’s Olympic Dash competition, is not easily missed. Sixteen years old, the young runner whose 400-metre performance at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium will take him to Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games, stands a whopping 6’ 3”. But even more importantly for his athletic success, Jehue has the competitive heart to go along with his size. As a member for track club Memphis Pioneers, Jehue follows a grueling, five-day-a-week training schedule, diligently adhering to the regime. “It’s been tough,” he says, “but you have to work for what you want.” In a society where many youth – especially young males – are sliding further into an under-culture of lawlessness and stagnation, he is a powerful contrast. “He’s really a good child,” says Jehue’s Memphis Pioneers coach, Dr Ian Hippolyte. “He’s extremely diligent in his training. He has a very good work ethic.” The Belmont Boys’ Secondary School student specialises in the 400 and 800-metre hurdle – a good event for someone of his height. He began running in primary school and has been in national competition since standard 5. Jehue represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 2008 Carifta Games, winning a bronze medal in the 400-metre hurdles. “He’s going to do very well,” Dr Hippolyte predicted. “He’s got good physical attributes. He will be a strong representative for Trinidad and Tobago in track and field.” Asked if he is excited to attend the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Jehue responded sharply, “I MUST be excited.” The young athlete expressed his enormous gratitude to TSTT for the opportunity to go to the event. In its ongoing mission to contribute to the development of youth in Trinidad and Tobago, TSTT held the bmobile Olympic Dash competition to give young athletes a chance to experience the games in person. Jehue and fellow winner Kai Selvon received all-expenses paid trips to one of the ultimate international sporting events. The telecom company has made youth-focused outreach a major part of its corporate giving agenda through individual projects and the TSTT Foundation. Jehue has plans of his own to one day participate in the games. “Absolutely,” he says, “my long term goal is to make the Olympics and medal.” For his professional career he plans on becoming a physiotherapist because “you get to travel plenty and I like to deal with athletics.” Although he is impressed by the running style of Dominican 400-metre hurdle champion Felix Sanchez, Jehue has no real athletic hero. He credits both his own determination to succeed and the support of his family (parents and one brother) as the backbone of his winning ways: “They always support me, telling me to pray before I run.”