PORT OF SPAIN – Machel Cedenio became the youngest Trinidad and Tobago athlete to qualify for an IAAF World Championship 400 metres final when he clocked 44.64 seconds for third spot in the third and final semi-final heat at the Bird’s Nest Stadium here in Beijing, China, on Sunday. Nineteen-year-old Cedenio changed his race tactics for the semis, going out harder than usual in order to stay in close touch with his rivals. He did just that, coming off the final turn close to the front. But there was a cost involved. The 2014 world junior champion lacked his usual finishing power, and had to settle for third spot in the heat, behind South African Wayde van Niekirk and (44.31) and defending champion LaShawn Merritt (44.34) of the United States.
Cedenio had given his all, and was totally exhausted. He lay flat on the ground in the interview area, before rising to his feet to speak to the Express. As a third-place finisher, he did not advance automatically to the men’s one-lap final. There was relief in the young man’s voice. The hard work that had him on his back moments before was not in vain. “It was a hard heat, probably the hardest heat out there. But I went out and just gave it my all, and I’m in the final. I’ll just focus on my final and see what happens.” Before the third semi-final, another T&T quarter-miler, Lalonde Gordon was poised to get into the final as the second of the two “fastest losers” after earning fourth spot in heat two in 44.70 seconds. But Cedenio nudged him out for the eighth and final championship race berth, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist finishing ninth overall. (Trinidad Express).