US hurdler Rai Benjamin speaks out on racial abuse

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By Neto Baptiste

USA hurdler Rai Benjamin has revealed he has, in the past, been racially profiled adding that he is in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and its stance against racial abuse and profiling in the USA.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo sports show, Benjamin said he is surrounded by protests and the fight for equality every day in California.

“All of the protests and the rioting took place right here in California as well so we kind of saw it firsthand and it was something to reflect upon because when you’re pretty young and I drive a considerably nice car so I’ve been profiled and stuff like that,” he said.

Benjamin, the son of former West Indies fast bowler Winston Benjamin, is thankful for support he has received from family and friends, including his coaching staff.

“They had to have a conversation with me about making sure I drive safe, making sure that you’re not doing anything that warrants an officer to pull you over and stuff like that because when you get pulled over you just never know what’s going to happen.

“We’ve spoken about the current issues going on and stuff that we’ve gone through so it’s always a constant conversation whether we know it or not. Just having the George Floyd situation take place just sort of sped things up and really highlighted a whole lot of new conversations,” he said.

Benjamin is the joint third fastest man in history in the 400m hurdles with a personal best time of 46.98 seconds, one of only four times in history under 47.00 seconds. He won a silver medal at his first World Championships in 2019 in the men’s 400m hurdles, and a gold medal in the 4X400 metres relay at the same competition.

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