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Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee

 

Tuesday, June 23rd 1998

by  TERENCE HILTON-CLARKE

(c)copyright

Part 2
 
 

THE INDEPENDENT today continues its synopsis of Trinidad and Tobago’s history at the Olympic Games. This series, started yesterday, commemorates the anniversary of Olympism which is being marked this, the anniversary week of the modern Olympics. Today, we look Trinidad and Tobago at the Seoul Olympics of 1988.

Morris makes his Mark

BY THE TIME, the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul began with a gala opening ceremony, the number of nations taking part in the multi-sport event had swelled to 160. It is unfortunate that the economic fallout experienced during the second half of the 1980's, coupled with some ugly controversies, resulted in only six competitors making the trip to South Korea: main medal hope Gene Samuel and fellow cyclist Maxwell Cheeseman; swimmer Karen Dieffenthaller and the track trio of Ian Morris, Patrick Delice and Angela Williams. While Dieffenthaller was eliminated early in her events, the major disappointment was definitely Samuel. The fourth-place finish in Los Angeles, four years earlier, along with a silver-medal performance at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianappolis had the 27-year-old into the position of top prospect. But local experts had not taken into consideration the considerable increases in technology which had occurred in cycling over the previous four years, the growth of Australia as a superpower and the return of riders from the East Bloc. All of these were partial factors in Samuel only finishing 12th in the kilometre time trial: an event which was won by the USSR's Alexander Kirichenko. Local fans never took the circumstances to heart, and Samuel suffered a three-year dip in popularity. Instead, it was Cheeseman who received kudos for his seventh placing in the 1,000m match sprint. Another creditable performance came on the track. Ian Morris was a footballer until an injury forced him to try his luck as track athlete in 1985. It was a successful conversion, and a period of three years saw Morris replacing Mike Paul as this country's top 400m runner, capturing four national titles and a CAC Games bronze medal in the process. It was against this background that Morris made steady progress through to the final. In the end, Morris placed seventh in a time of 44.95, signalling his arrival as one of the world's top quarter-milers.

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