By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies and Antigua fast bowler, Winston Benjamin, has heralded the performance of his son, Rai Benjamin, in the 400m hurdles at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Rai, who represented Antigua and Barbuda at the junior level before deciding to represent the USA where he was born, clocked 46.17 seconds, the second-fastest time in history, to win silver on Tuesday. He was beaten by Norway’s Karsten Warholm who set a new world record at 45.94 seconds.
Winston said that although he was hoping for gold, it was a proud and happy moment for him.
“He gave it his all, he gave it all he got and there were no stones left unturned and you can’t ask for anything more. I would not ask for anything more, I am very happy and very proud. He gave it his best shot but just got beaten on the day by a better athlete,” he said.
“I just said to him, ‘you did your best, champ’, and that was that. I was looking for the w [win] but it didn’t come and it’s not because he didn’t try, so I was comfortable and I was satisfied and as I said to him last night [Tuesday], I couldn’t ask you for anything more,” he added.
Winston, who also represented the Leeward Islands cricket team, believes that although Rai’s athleticism comes naturally, his mother Gale Mason who is also from Antigua, played a major role in guiding their son on the right path.
“I know she is excited for his accomplishments and I just want to say to her that may the Lord bless her, and I really appreciate the way she has grown my son and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to him and his development, and I would just like to say kudos to her and I think she did an excellent job,” the former cricketer said.
Asked if there are any regrets over his son’s decision to represent the USA back in 2018, Winston said he does not get involved in his son’s choices, but supports any decision he makes.
“I have never spoken to my son about the decision because that is his decision and I think he was old enough to make a decision and that is what he chose and, as I said to you before, I don’t make decisions for my kids. I support their decisions if I think it is worth supporting and if they don’t ask me my decision then I don’t give it,” he said.
Though opting to run for the US, Rai said he still reps for Antigua and Barbuda, and carries the national flag with him anywhere he competes.