http://www.trinidadexpress.com/sports/Monderoy_wants_to_build_T_T_distance_running-171958491.htmlMonderoy wants to build T&T distance running
By Kwame Laurence firstname.lastname@example.org
Story Created: Sep 29, 2012 at 11:01 PM ECT
Sheldon Monderoy wants Trinidad and Tobago to be represented in more track and field events on the global stage, and is keen to play his part in achieving that goal.
The 40-year-old former middle distance runner is the owner of Live Stream Finland, a successful internet video company in Finland.
"The company can be run from anywhere in the world, because it's internet-based. I want to be back home for the sole purpose of building a programme."
Monderoy told the Sunday Express he would like to coach an elite group of about 12 middle and long distance runners.
"I would visit sports teams, and look for those who show some form of ability. We can do tests which we don't do in Trinidad and Tobago. For example, the VO2 Max test, which is very important. Also, there are jumping tests--how high you can jump, in order to assess stride length. That was never discussed as athletes in Trinidad. That's part of the expertise at international level."
Monderoy has T&T records in the outdoor 1,500 metres (3:45.09), mile (4:02.43) and 3,000m (8:14.16) events, as well as the indoor 1,500m (3:47.36), mile (4:04.35) and 3,000m (8:24.33 on an oversized track).
The sextuple national record holder said the success of T&T javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott at the London Olympics was an eye-opener.
"What we saw with the gold medal is that if we have expertise available to those who have the talent, they can go further with it. A Cuban coach (Ismael Lopez) turned this guy into an Olympic gold medallist. It's about finding athletes with potential. There are diamonds in the rough out there.
"When I was in school," he continued, "we discussed the brain drain, where talented professionals went to different countries, and were not returning. Society needs people who can contribute positively. Rather than just be a sponsor, which is something I can also be, I'm getting to the stage of life where it's not about financial gain anymore, but what life is about. I want to help develop track and field in Trinidad and Tobago--it's about developing the country."
Monderoy said he is willing to move back home by the end of the year to start his proposed middle and long distance running programme.
"When I was an athlete, I got help form Robert Amar. I'll never forget that. Somebody helped me, and it's my turn to help others. If I come home, it would have to be under the right conditions that would be conducive to development."
At the University of South Florida (USF), in the United States, Monderoy was coached by Bob Braman, the man who steered Florida State University (FSU) to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Outdoor Track and Field Championship titles in 2006 and 2008.
And in Finland, T&T's best-ever miler trained under the guidance of 1972 Olympic men's 1,500m champion Pekkha Vasala, as well as Lasse Mikkelsson, head of that country's distance running programme.
"Thinking about my own experiences and the level of coaching I have had, my expertise is going to waste. I have the knowledge and I'm willing to return home. The brain drain situation is reversed--now we have professionals who have left and want to return to pass on what they've learnt and help others.
"Middle and long distance running," he continued, "haven't had great success in T&T, but I don't know if people have the patience. We tend to quantify success by medals, and not on development. In T&T, national records aren't given the significance they should. We have to be a bit more realistic. We have to look at how we review and gauge success. Success needs to be evaluated on progress--where athletes started, and where they reach.
"When I ran the (national record) 4:02 mile, the headline in the Guardian was 'Monderoy beaten'. This shows that we're counter-productive, and how we view progress and success. We need to adjust our attitudes towards sport.
"I was in excellent shape to go below four minutes in the mile, but one thing that really affected me was a radio interview. Somebody called in and said 'Monderoy would never win a medal'. That stayed with me. I felt no matter what I did, it would not be appreciated."
Monderoy said Tonya Nero, Jamaal James and Gavyn Nero are among the athletes who could benefit from his proposed coaching programme.
"That Nero girl is definitely a high potential athlete. Her 2:43:14 is a very good marathon time. And to drop from three hours (3:04:09) to 2:43 is a very good improvement. She just needs the right training now."
Nero will represent T&T at the World Half Marathon Championships, in Kavarna, Bulgaria, on Saturday.