Deon Lendore

FLASHBACK: Texas A&M’s Deon Lendore, left, wins the Men’s 400 metres ahead of third place finisher, LSU’s Vernon Norwood, at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA, in 2014. —Photo: AP

“We lost one of us.”

On an emotional evening at the Kyle Field Hall of Champions in Texas on Thursday, Texas A&M University track and field head coach Pat Henry summed up the mood with those words about Deon Lendore.

The celebration of the life of Lendore, the Trinidad and Tobago athlete and Olympic medallist who died in a car accident two weeks ago was filled with expressions from those close to him at the university and relatives from Trinidad who had travelled to the United States for the memorial service.

In his address, an emotional Henry, Lendore’s former coach, who had also worked with him over the last two years when the Arima native was an assistant volunteer coach at the school, spoke of how their relationship evolved.

“You athletes sitting out there don’t realise the impact you have on us...the impact you have on us is just life-long. And if you’re here very long as Deon was, you become much, much more than just an athlete,” coach Henry said.

“As coaches, we all have athletes we know as athletes. Deon became a friend. In ten years, he was a great friend of mine. We didn’t have that athlete-coach relationship that whole time. He became a friend.”

Lendore competed for Texas A&M from 2012-2015. In 2014, he went undefeated through 14 races in the 400 metres while claiming individual NCAA titles at the indoor and outdoor championships. Lendore also played a vital role in the 4x400m relay team that claimed the NCAA outdoor title and swept the SEC Championships. That year, he was named Texas A&M’s first and only male winner of The Bowerman, which is awarded to the most outstanding collegiate track and field athlete.

“With the volume of work that Deon has had, I would say he is probably the finest male track athlete we have ever had,” Henry noted.

The coach also spoke of Lendore’s qualities as a budding coach.

“He had a really special ability to lift those around him. He could talk to you; he could talk to the athletes. When an athlete was feeling bad, he had the ability to change it...People believed in him, they believed in him, he became a leader...

“He had a great eye for the sport…He could see in others what they needed to be told what to do.”

And Henry, trying hard to control himself, also had special words for Lendore’s parents who were not present.

“You did a great job raising your son,” he said.

“For me personally in the ten years, his growth as not just a track athlete but as a man was just fantastic.”

Even more emotional than Henry was the former Grenadian quarter-miler and Texas A&M coach Alleyne Francique, who said he has told several former A&M runners to dedicate their seasons to Lendore’s memory and requested that every 400-metre race run by A&M this season be named in honour of the Olympian.

“He was a young man with many qualities,” a tearful Francique said. “He was caring. He was [dependable]. He was courageous and he loved his family. To many of you, he was a team-mate. He was a mentor, an athlete and a fierce competitor. But to me, he was family.”

Lendore’s girlfriend Jasper Gray, a former athlete who has now begun coaching said: “Deon was literally my heart, I will love him forever and he meant the world to me. I hope you guys cherish him and continue living out his legacy.”

Some of Lendore’s family members also spoke, including his brother-in-law Keive Vanloo, who had words for the athlete’s Texas A&M colleagues and friends.

“We the family will be forever grateful to you, Texas A&M, for making him a part of your family — for providing and giving your best to serve in a field that he loved,” Vanloo said. “Deon will live on through the sands of time and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts.”

Current and former members of the Texas A&M track programme were in attendance, including the school’s track athletic trainer Saul Luna, his current professional coach Vice Anderson, and several professional teammates and training partners.


Trinidad and Tobago Red Force coach David Furlonge was pleased to see the fight shown by his players as they held on for a draw on the final day of their first-round West Indies Championship match against the Windward Islands Volcanoes, at the Grenada National Stadium, yesterday.

Half-centuries from Jason Mohammed (79 not out) and Tion Webster (58) saw the T&T side navigate over two full sessions after the Volcanoes declared their second innings at 425 for five in the first session.

Defending champions PowerGen Penal Sports made a strong start to the domestic red-ball season as they piled up 227 for six, off 65 overs, on the first day of the three-day Premiership 1 game against crosstown rivals Clarke Road United, at Syne Village in Penal, yesterday.

CLOSE to 100 players will be in action when competitive badminton returns to Trinidad after a three-year absence today at the National Racquet Centre, Orange Grove Main Road, Tacarigua.

The Trinidad and Tobago Badminton Association’s (TTBA) junior ranking tournament will be contested over the next two weekends, and their senior ranking tournament will take place from Monday until Friday.

West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite wants to see a better all-round performance from his team when they face Zimbabwe in the first Test, starting today, at Queen’s Sports Club in Bulawayo.

The opening batter also wants his players to put into practise all they have learnt from batting legend Brian Lara, who took up the role of performance mentor with the squad ahead of the two-Test series.

LeBron James had 26 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and pulled within 63 points of becoming the NBA’s career scoring leader as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied to beat the Indiana Pacers 112-111 on Thursday night.

James has 38,325 points, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holding the record at 38,387. James gave Los Angeles its first lead on a three-pointer with 2:35 left, and Anthony Davis’ 11-footer with 35.1 seconds left was the decisive basket. Davis had 31 points and 14 rebounds.