Renny Quow, Asa Guevara, Shakeem McKay and Jereem "The Dream" Richards teamed up for a seventh-place finish in the opening men's 4x400 metres qualifying heat at the World Athletics Championships here in Budapest, Hungary, yesterday.
The Trinidad and Tobago quartet did not progress to today's final. They returned a time of three minutes, 01.54 seconds in what was the country's last appearance at Budapest '23.
For the first time since 1999, TTO had no finalists at the World Athletics Championships. Additionally, yesterday's elimination meant that TTO did not qualify for the men's 4x4 final at the global meet for the first time since 2011.
"We definitely need to use this disappointment as something moving forward to be successful," Richards told the Sunday Express. "Trinidad and Tobago has been known for the 4x4 relay for years, way before our most recent successes. We want to continue this legacy. I would like the younger athletes to take heed and train hard.
"After Renny's gone, Machel (Cedenio) is gone, Asa's gone, I'm gone, we're going to need somebody to keep it up. So, I'm urging the younger athletes of Trinidad and Tobago, don't be satisfied by no small victory. Keep working hard and looking forward to being the best Trinidad and Tobago has to offer and the world has to offer."
Yesterday's 3:01.54 clocking in heat one was a season's best for TTO. United States won the race in 2:58.47. The other two automatic qualifying spots went to India, in 2:59.05, and Great Britain, in 2:59.42.
Quow ran the leadoff leg for TTO, handing off the baton in sixth spot. After the race, the 2009 World Championship 400m bronze medallist told the Sunday Express that the team gave its' all.
"It wasn't bad. We went out there and did what we had to do. We did our best."
Guevara ran the second leg for TTO. Halfway through the lap, he was in fifth spot, and battled hard to stay there. Like Quow and McKay, Guevara did not qualify for the individual 400, running only in the relay.
"Honestly, it makes me hungry. I want to be out there in the individual, representing along with Jereem, so having to sit out and watch everybody makes me more determined to work harder for next year."
McKay, who is just 20, kept TTO in the mix for a top-five finish and a shot at qualification. The solid run was a blessing for the Louisiana State University (LSU) student at the end of a challenging season.
"Everything right now is just progression. I was able to come back from a serious injury earlier in the year. I did surgery and still was able to recover in time to make it to the World Championships so I'm just grateful. We go home, rest, reset, and start training for Paris (Olympics) 2024."
Anchorman Richards gave his heart and soul, but was not at his best and TTO had to settle for seventh. The reigning world indoor 400m champion sustained a foot injury in July at the NGC NAAATT National Open Championships.
"Physically, I was a little bit in pain, but it didn't matter. I just had to run. I knew the importance of trying to make the final so we could qualify for World Relays, and moving forward, Olympic Games. Sadly, we weren't able to. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little disappointed but this was the best the team had to offer today. It was a season's best so we could definitely take some positives out of it."
Another positive for TTO came in the men's decathlon. Canadian Pierce LePage, whose mother is Trinidadian Lana Fortune-LePage, grabbed gold yesterday with a personal best and world leading 8,909 points.