‘A great team player…’ Lewis, Serrette and Boldon mourn Deon Lendore, Arima’s first Olympic medallist

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Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis and former National Association of Athletics Administrations of Trinidad and Tobago (NAAATT) president Ephraim Serrette this morning expressed shock and anguish at the untimely passing of 29-year-old track star Deon Lendore.

Lendore, a three-time Olympian who won bronze in the 4 x 400m event at the London 2012 Olympics, died in a car accident last night in Texas. He was the volunteer assistant coach at Texas A&M University, his former school, where he assisted with 400-metre and 800-metre athletes.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s 4 x 400m team (from left) Machel Cedenio, Deon Lendore, Rene Quow and Lalonde Gordon at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium in Beijing on 30 August 2015.
(Copyright AFP 2015/ Olivier Morin)

“Words cannot adequately express our sadness at the devastating and untimely loss of three-time Olympian and Olympic and World Championship bronze medallist Deon Lendore, who has been an  inspiration and motivation to us all both on and off the track,” said Lewis. “Deon has flown the Trinidad and Tobago flag with pride, honour, patriotism and an indomitable will throughout his career while helping and inspiring many. 

“We express our deepest and heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, teammates and coaches, Abilene Club, the community of Arima and all who he would have touched. It is a sad day for the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic and Commonwealth sport movement.

May Deon rest and sleep in eternal peace.”

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Lendore grew up in Mt Pleasant, Arima, and was introduced to track by his mother, Christine Lendore, who ran for the Abilene Wildcats in the 1970s. Arima produced more than a dozen Olympians but Lendore became their first Olympic medallist at just 20 years old.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago track star Deon Lendore won bronze at the London 2012 Olympics.

It was fitting that Lendore’s best sporting moment came in the relay. Serrette, a veteran track administrator, said he was the ultimate team player.

“I remember a year one of his Abilene teammates disrespected the office of the [NAAATT] president and was suspended,” said Serrette. “Dion was away at the time. But when he came home and found out, he personally brought the athlete to me and asked him to apologise. And then he asked us to be lenient with him. That was a mark of the man he was.

“[…] He was a very humble individual, always a great team player. He was always such a dedicated athlete from juniors all the way up. This is a tragic loss.”

Serrette noted that Lendore was on the comeback trail last year after injury and performed creditably, only just missing out on a spot in the Olympic finals.

“To get that kind of news, it just tells you that no day is yours, yes,” he said. “You have to be grateful when you open your eyes in the morning because you never know. This is a tragic loss and he was an outstanding young man.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Cedenio (centre) receives the baton from Deon Lendore in the final leg of the men’s 4 x 400m final at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium in Beijing on 30 August 2015.
USA’s LaShawn Merritt (left) also gets the baton from Bryshon Nellum.
(Copyright AFP 2015/ Franck Fife)

For iconic former sprinter Ato Boldon, Trinidad and Tobago’s most decorated track star with four Olympic medals, Lendore was also great company.

“He was as everyone said, one of the nicest guys you could ever meet in the sport with a big laugh and always kicks,” said Boldon. “He got along with everyone. He was also a brilliant 400m runner who contributed majorly to the national effort at the highest level.”

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One comment

  1. Hannibal Najjar

    It is in these times we are to surrender our aura of invincibility for, on several occasions, I, Hannibal Najjar have been in accidents and very treacherous road conditions in more than five countries and I am here reading about one 29-year-old who probably just faced his first.
    I thank God for His oversight of me and I seek His will for me so that the many days and years that I have lived and those which are still to come would show the extensions of my love for His creation, both fauna and flora, and to point all to Him. I have sought to live as this….. that I, “act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with the Lord”, and Deon’s passing further emboldens me.
    I shall not love less but seek and welcome His mandate that He spoke to me “…. but I have a love to show you that have not yet known” – now, eight years since and that “love” is oozing and revealing itself day by day and item by item.
    I shall consider this precious loss as I get set for my bedrest tonight and ponder the pains that his loved ones are feeling. I shall continue to give thanks to Him and beg His mercy and counsel, these, so that I might continue to “let my light so shine that others would see the good works but give glory to our Lord who is in Heaven.”
    We will miss you, Deon. Thanks for your humble and scintillating athletic and stellar human-natured contributions.
    Good day, ladies and g-men!

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