Machel Cedenio

FAMILY TIME: Machel Cedenio, centre, poses for a photo with his proud parents, Diane, left, and Hayden.

An act of service from top Trinidad and Tobago quartermiler Machel Cedenio has filled his parents with pride.

Though Cedenio is more than 1,800 miles away, at his training base in Florida, USA, he is thinking about those in T&T who are facing serious challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2014 400 metres world junior champion sponsored grocery hampers for members of his Simplex Athletic Club as well as needy persons in the Gasparillo community.

On Wednesday, Cedenio’s parents, Hayden and Diane distributed the hampers. Simplex head coach and T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) 2019 Alexander B Chapman Award recipient Gunness Persad facilitated the distribution process.

“Machel is that type of person,” Diane told the Express. “He always wants to help. He’s over there in Florida, but is still worrying about everyone down here. There was this nursing home for elderly people in Sangre Grande that needed assistance, and Machel helped there was as well. He really likes to help.”

The Cedenios are originally from Point Fortin, but now live in Gasparillo. The family patriarch, Hayden was very impressed with his son’s gesture.

“Real amazing! When you watch around the community and Trinidad and Tobago, a lot of people are suffering. ‘We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone’ is a quote that has become Machel’s motto,” Hayden ended. “It is very fitting for these times.”

Persad has played a key role in Machel’s development, and knows the 24-year-old athlete better than most.

“Machel has always been a kind-hearted person, always willing to help and trying to find ways to assist other athletes. This is a good gesture from a good giver.”

Cedenio is T&T’s fastest-ever quartermiler. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, he finished fourth in the men’s 400m final in a national record time of 44.01 seconds, chopping two-tenths of a second off the previous standard of 44.21, established by Ian Morris at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Cedenio’s resume also includes 4x400m gold at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, England and a share in the 4x4 title at the 2019 IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan. In the World Relays final, Deon Lendore, Jereem Richards, Asa Guevara and Cedenio combined for the win, Cedenio storming from behind to anchor the team to victory in “a finish for the ages”.

The Yokohama triumph earned Cedenio and company the First Citizens Sports Foundation Lystra Lewis Award for the best T&T team in 2019. A champion on the track, Cedenio is proving his quality off the track as well.

“If you are in a position to help others,” the T&T track star said in a social media post, “I encourage you to do so. We are all in this together! Reminder: ‘You are safe at home not stuck at home.’ Stay home! Stay safe!”

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