Like another fellow from T&T with the same first name, Machel Cedenio will be hoping to perform ‘like a boss’, when he tackles a high quality field in the men’s 400 metres final at the World Championships here in Beijing, tomorrow. Cedenio finished third in his semifinal yesterday to progress as one of two fastest losers from the three semifinals.
United States' Lashawn Merritt won the event from South Africa's Wayde Van Niekerk. “I would not change anything but overall it was a good race. I listened to my coach and I went out, which I don’t normally do. I didn’t feel like how I normally feel coming home, but it was still a decent run,” Cedenio told the T&T Guardian.
Cedenio, 19, will be the youngest in tomorrow’s final. Among the men he will face is Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada, who advanced after winning his semifinal in 44.16 secs. James will attempt to regain the world title he first won in Daegu, South Korea in 2011. Luguelin Santos followed James as the only two qualifiers from the first semifinal and in the process a Dominican Republic record of 44.26.
The world leader and African record holder Isaac Makwala of Botswana advanced with the fastest time of 44.11. Also in the field are: reigning world champion Merritt and Van Niekerk, the only man to beat James this season. The other finalists include Yousef Ahmed Masrahi of Saudi Arabia, who posted 43.93 in the preliminaries and Britain’s Rabah Yousif.
None of the names are intimidating the youthful T&T athlete, however. “I am just going into the final to have fun, so I am taking it step by step. I thank God for bringing me through the rounds and you know it is a good step with Olympic next year. I just thank God that I am a world finalist right now,” declared Cedenio.
Cedenio described the semifinal as tough. “I took it step by step and held it down. This was not the perfect race. I still have not found that race as yet,” he said. Cedenio is hoping for that perfect race at 9.25am (T&T time) tomorrow. “The extra day’s rest will help in the recovery of my muscles and mentally prepare me for the finals. The plan was to take it out a little faster than before and use my strength to come home.”
As to the plan for today’s final, Cedenio said he will talk it over with his coach. “Depending on the lane I get, we will see. Right now I am just grateful to be in the final. No matter what lane as we will all run 400 metres.” He was also excited at the prospect of contestifg the relay final. “We have a good strong relay team with all the guys running under 45, so that is something very exciting
The other two T&T semifinalists Olympic bronze medallist La Londe Gordon and Renny Quow both failed to qualify. Gordon finished 9th and felt a better lane would have helped. “Ah boy, If I had a better lane. I am a man that likes to run from the outside lane, so lane three was like two on this track so although I got to see everybody, it was not the lane I wanted,” he said. “I am going to get some rest and go out there on Friday and make the country proud. It is all about rest right now and focussing on the 4x4.”
Quow finished fifth in his semi final. ”It was a tough race. I gave it a shot and today was not good enough but we will focus again. We have the relays and everyone is looking forward to that.”