Delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics were unlike any other. WIth its strict protocols, it was the first modern Olympic Games to be played without spectators. But these Games will be known for many other firsts as well. In addition to the many world records that were broken so far,…These Athletes Made History at the Tokyo Olympics — TIME
You won’t see this on the pages of Time but it was an Antigua-Barbuda first as well when Rai Benjamin, son of former Windies cricketer, Antiguan and Barbudan Winston Benjamin, and his mother also of Antigua and Barbuda Gale Mason, won silver and gold in 400 m hurdles and 400 m relay, respectively, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He was running for the United States of America so these go toward their medal count, of course, but (stand to be corrected), I do believe this is the first time someone with Antiguan-Barbudan lineage has medalled at the Games – and we are celebrating his win here at home. Benjamin has represented Antigua and Barbuda at CARIFTA and the World Championships in the past but subsequently transferred his allegiance to run for the US where he was born (his Wiki says the transfer was approved in 2018), accessing the support and resources to go the distance on the biggest stage.
We also congratulate the athletes who represented the 268; Cehjae Greene and Joella Lloyd (track), Alston Ryan (boxing), Samantha Roberts and Stefano Mitchell (swimming), Jalese Gordon (sailing). Antigua and Barbuda has had a presence in the Games officially since 1976, and it’s an uphill climb for our athletes who deserve all the praise and all the support we can muster.
And this being an arts site, I want to draw attention to something said by Cehjae’s father educator Colin Greene. “One of the problems we have here is that we are looking to support athletes after they win on the big stage but after the athlete wins on the big stage then he or she doesn’t need any support, they need the support before they win.”
What he said struck me because it echoes what we’ve been saying over here re investment in youth and arts development programmes – the need for investment early and consistently. As sports, arts.
Caribbean medal count from the Tokyo Olympics – Cuba (15), Jamaica (9) – including the 1, 2, 3 punch in the 100 m finals, Dominican Republic (5), Bahamas (2), Puerto Rico (1), Grenada (1), Bermuda (1).
As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, The Jungle Outside, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.