By Neto Baptiste
US hurdler, Rai Benjamin said is he is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support he has received from the Antiguan and Barbudan public.
Benjamin, who is the son of former West Indies fast bowler Winston Benjamin and Gale Mason, spoke on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show on Thursday during which time he thanked the public for their support.
“It’s fantastic,” he said of the support. “I actually saw Cejhae Greene, he and I talk all the time and he’s here [Doha] and wanted to hang out a few times but I couldn’t because I competed the first few days that I was here. Even back home [Antigua] everyone messages me; I get the constant Facebook notifications and my mom always tells me what people are saying, and so it’s been great. I just try to represent both as much as I can and even though I run for the US, that part of me is still there.”
Benjamin, who had represented Antigua and Barbuda at the World Youth Championships in Athletics in 2013, switched his allegiance to the USA in 2018.
The athlete remained adamant the decision was best for him and his career.
“I do definitely think so, because of the way things played out with school and going pro, I think that representing the US was the right decision for me. I had fun running for Antigua at Carifta because I made some good friends, but I think in the end that this is where I am supposed to be and this is the team I am supposed to represent,” he said.
Benjamin won silver in the 400 meters finals at the IAAF World Championships in Doha on Monday night, edged only by Norway’s Karsten Warholm.
He explained that he had to overcome some challenges ahead of the World Championships.
“I had an injury and I hadn’t really done anything for three weeks, so my main focus was just to make it through and to possibly medal. Nevertheless, I went into the race thinking I was going to win although I knew I wasn’t race sharp and it played out the way it played out and I am just happy that, under the circumstances, I was able to grab a silver medal,” the athlete said. Benjamin clocked 47.66 to finish second behind Warholm’s 46.78 gold medal effort. Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba won bronze in 48.03.