Machel CEDENIO, Trinidad and Tobago (200/400/4x400m)


Born: 6 September 1995, Point Fortin, Trinidad

Lives: Clermont, Florida, USA


Coach: Lance Brauman/Gary Evans

Manager: Total Sports Management US


Machel Cedenio has earned a reputation for finishing fast. At the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, the Trinidad and Tobago quartermiler stormed past the Bahamian and Cuban anchormen to hand his country gold in the men’s 4×400 metres relay.

And Cedenio’s trademark finishing power ensured silver for T&T at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, in a two minutes, 58.20 seconds national record run.

“That’s something natural in me,” says Cedenio, of his now famous kick. “It’s more heart, me not enjoying losing, so I always try my best at the 150-mark to get a medal or win. After running 300 metres in a 400, your body is so tired, you just want to cross the line and lay down. I try to reach to the finish line as fast as I can to lay down on the ground and get a sip of water.”


An earlier display of Cedenio’s strength came at the Carifta Games in 2011 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Jevaughn Minzie celebrated prematurely what he thought was victory in the boys’ under-17 200 metres final. Cedenio, however, had other ideas, surging past his Jamaican rival to grab gold.


“We all know the 400 is my main event,” says Cedenio. “But deep down in my heart I love the 200. Back in 2011, that is when I made my debut in the Carifta Games, when the Jamaica guy called, and I ran past him.”

Overhauling his opponents is now a way of life for Cedenio. Born in the south Trinidad town of Point Fortin, some 90 kilometres from the capital, Port of Spain, Cedenio attended the prestigious secondary school, Presentation College, San Fernando. But instead of moving on to the American collegiate circuit, he opted to turn pro.


“When I first went to the professional camp that I’m in now, the Lance Brauman camp in Florida, I wasn’t a professional athlete yet. I went there to basically train for World Juniors. Brauman decided he would assist me with my training.

“It was an opportunity I got through my local coach, Gunness Persad. Me being there, loving the environment, loving the coach, loving the great training group I was in, I decided, you know what, since I’m already here, I’m already adjusted, let me just stay and further my career from here.”


Preparing for the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships under the guidance of Brauman bore fruit. Cedenio was in a class of his own at the global under-20 meet in Eugene, Oregon, USA. He produced a 45.13 seconds T&T junior record run in the final to strike gold, finishing more than a second faster than Japanese silver medallist Nobuya Kato (46.17).


With that victory, Cedenio became only the second athlete from T&T to win a World Juniors 400 metres title, following in the strides of 2006 champion Renny Quow.

“It’s really good to know I’m in the history books. Every time I wear red, white and black, it’s always a pleasure to go out there and represent my country to the best of my ability. I know there are a lot of young guys coming up, running fast times, so I know in the near future there would be a third guy to win the gold medal.”


Cedenio was only 19 when he advanced all the way to the men’s 400 metres final at the 2015 Beijing Worlds. He finished seventh in the championship race.

“To be the youngest in the field,” says Cedenio, “that’s less pressure on me. I have a lot of time to get back where I was on the world stage. I take every day step by step; I go out there and have fun.”


Cedenio’s first Olympic experience, at the 2012 London Games, was not much fun. A 16-year-old alternate on the 4×4 relay squad, he never got onto the track. However, Cedenio has turned that negative into a positive.

“Being in London and not being able to run motivated me. It showed me that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be at the time, and made me step up my game to ensure that next time I wouldn’t be waiting for the team manager to pick me. I’d be ready. I’d pick myself.


“My coach said to always go to the championship knowing that you’re the first pick. Never be the second pick or the third pick. I think the London experience was the best experience of my life. It was an eye-opener for me.

“I was only 16 back then, so my expectation to run wasn’t really that high. To me, going there was more for the experience. Yeah, I was looking forward to run, but now that I’m older and more mature in the sport, to me it wasn’t as big a deal as it was back then. As the old folks say, when one door closes, another one opens.”


Cedenio opened his own doors in the ensuing years. In 2013, he dived under 46 seconds for the very first time. World Juniors gold was the highpoint of his 2014 season. And then, in 2015, the T&T athlete joined the sub-45 club with a 44.36 seconds scorcher, reached the World Championship individual 400 final, and anchored his country to 4×4 silver at the global meet.


The focus this season is on the Rio Olympics. Cedenio is now 20, and determined to make an impact on the world’s biggest sporting stage. Preparation on the Road to Rio has been intense.

“I hate taking breaks during my training. When I’m grinding, I’m grinding. I’m working hard. After a long year, I tend to take a month or two break. That’s when I spend time with my family and friends.”

Cedenio is especially close to his mother, Diane Cedenio.


“She’s the type of mother I can go to with anything, any problem … girlfriend problems, school, track-related, anything. From young, we developed a strong relationship. I thank her for that.”

Diane would have been particularly pleased with her son’s 2016 season-opener, the 2014 world junior champion winning in Florida with a 44.79 seconds clocking. Five more sub-45 runs followed, for a total of six so far this season in nine outings. The latest of those fine performances came in mid-July at the Herculis 2016 IAAF Diamond League meet in Monaco. Cedenio clocked a personal best 44.34 seconds to snap up silver, behind South Africa’s reigning world champion Wayde van Niekerk (44.12).


Cedenio is the second fastest T&T quartermiler in history, and would be keen to replace Ian Morris (44.21) as the national record-holder

To challenge for one of the three 400 metres medals on offer in Rio, Cedenio would probably need to run a lot faster than Morris’ 24-year-old T&T standard. Van Niekerk, Grenada’s reigning Olympic champion Kirani James, and American LaShawn Merritt have all been in fine form this season. As a result, Cedenio would likely require a sub-44 clocking to be in the medal mix. It’s a big ask, but certainly not beyond the fast-finishing one-lap specialist.


Personal Bests

200: 21.15 (2013)

400: 44.34 (2016)


Yearly Progression

200/400: 2010: 48.12; 2011: 21.43/46.89; 2012: 21.23/46.02; 2013: 21.15/45.93; 2014: 21.72/45.13 NJR; 2015: 44.36; 2016: 44.34


Career Highlights


2010   1st     (4×400) Carifta Games U17 (George Town                                    3:16.30

2010   2nd    (400) CAC* Junior Championships U18 (Santo Domingo                 48.12

2010   2nd    (4×400) CAC* Junior Championships U18 (Santo Domingo)           3:17.54

2011   1st     (200) Carifta Games U17 (Montego Bay                                         21.43

2011   1st     (400) Carifta Games U17 (Montego Bay                                         47.38

2011   2nd     (4×100) Carifta Games U17 (Montego Bay                                    41.13

2011    2nd   (4×400) Carifta Games U17 (Montego Bay                                    3:15.35

2011    2nd   (4×400) Pan American Junior Championships (Miramar)                3:13.27

2011            4th(400) World Youth Championships (Villeneuve d’Ascq                 46.89

2011            6th (Medley) World Youth Championships (Villeneuve d’Ascq)           1:52.77

2012   2nd    (400) Carifta Games U20 (Hamilton                                                 47.93

2012   2nd    (4×400) Carifta Games U20 (Hamilton                                            3:11.62

2012   1st     (400) CAC* Junior Championships U18 (San Salvador)                      47.36

2012   1st     (4×400) CAC* Junior Championships U18 (San Salvador)                3:11.66

2012   5th     (400) World Junior Championships (Barcelona                                  46.17

2012   3rd     (4×400) World Junior Championships (Barcelona)                           3:06.32

2013   1st     (400) Carifta Games U20 (Nassau                                                    45.93

2013   2nd    (4×400) Carifta Games U20 (Nassau                                             3:06.23

2013   1st     (4×400) CAC* Championships (Morelia                                          3:02.19A

2014   1st     (400) Carifta Games U20 (Fort-de-France                                        45.95

2014   1st     (4×400) Carifta Games U20 (Fort-de-France                                   3:06.02

2014   3rd     (4×400) World Relays (Nassau                                                        2:58.34

2014   1st     (400) CAC* Junior Championships U20 (Morelia                               45.28A

2014   1st     (400) World Junior Championships (Eugene)                                     45.13

2015   7th     (4×400) World Relays (Nassau                                                        3:03.10

2015   2nd    (400) Pan American Games (Toronto)                                             44.70

2015   1st     (4×400) Pan American Games (Toronto)                                         2:59.60

2015   7th     (400) World Championships (Beijing)                                              45.06

2015   2nd    (4×400) World Championships (Beijing)                                          2:58.20


*CAC = Central American & Caribbean


Prepared by Kwame Laurence for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. 





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