The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) kept it promise on Monday night to honour the Tobago Olympians for their recent credible achievements despite their absence at a special function at Cafe Coco, Crown Point.
Double bronze medalist Lalonde Gordon who was the only Tobago athlete on the island at the time was tied up in the motorcade organised by the Central Government for all the athletes that represented Trinidad and Tobago at the recent London Olympics.
Although the Assembly had received a promise that the 23-year-old athlete would be made available for the function at 6 p.m. he was not released as the motorcade made its way to Charlotteville late on Monday night.
Lalonde was supposed to be the guest of honour to receive his rewards from Tobago Chief Secretary Orville London. In his absence his grandmother Yvonne Gordon accepted the envelopes with $200,000 worth of Units from the Unit Trust Corporation and $100,000 in cash plus a first day cover of postage stamps on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the nation’s independence and $50,000 reimbursement to his family who attended the Olympics.
London also disclosed that Lalonde will be the first to own a plot of land next year at the Courland Estate which was purchased by the THA and the establishment of the Lalonde Gordon Sport Development Fund with the main purpose of assisting Tobago’s sportsmen and women. London said the THA will open the fund with $1 million and will match contributions dollar for dollar made by corporate organisations.
Olympic finalists Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett each received $75,000 in Units and $75,000 in cash and Renny Quow and Josanne Lucas who were injured while preparing for the Olympic Games will each receive $50,000 in cash. In addition the THA committed itself to providing financial support for the rehabilitation of the two. The Assembly also plan to name streets, building and recreation grounds in the athletes’ honour.
In presenting the rewards the Tobago Chief Secretary also paid tribute to the coaches who would have contributed to the performance of the athletes. “Tonight is a good night. We as Tobagonians must be extremely proud. Tobago won two bronze medals and we had three finalists. We must celebrate and we must be inspired,” he said.
Addressing Lalonde through his grandmother, London said: “To those who have achieved much, much more is expected. His journey has entered a new phase and he must be steadfast. Lalonde has got to understand that he is the third fastest in the 400 metres in the world.”
He said in the last 30 metres Lalonde showed grit, focus, determination and a good Tobago bad mind.
Lalonde’s grandmother in accepting the rewards on his behalf said he was a determined grandchild. “What he wants he always go for it and said he will get gold the next time,” she added.