Eugene (USA), June 28 (IANS) West Indies cricket may be sputtering but its athletics is blossoming not just in the Caribbean nations like Jamaica but also in the United States of America (USA). Rai Benjamin, son of former West Indies pace bowler Winston Benjamin, who hasn’t taken up cricket like father and is instead scorching the track in 400-metre hurdles, has come close to breaking the three-decade old world record.
On Saturday night at the US Olympic trials, Benjamin junior clocked 46.83, only .05 off American Kevin Young’s time of 46.78 in 1992.
The 23-year-old is now the favourite to win gold for the United States at the Tokyo Olympic Games that begin next month. He could also knock off the world record.
“I know it (world record) is there. I just have to tweak some more things. I can run so much faster. I know it. I can feel it,” Benjamin said after the race.
He said that coming so close to the world record will add “just more fuel for the fire”.
Saturday’s time helped him push Norway’s Karsten Warholm down to No. 3 in the list of athletes with best timings. Warholm clocked 46.87.
Benjamin junior had earlier held the third-fastest time of 46.98 seconds and had won silver medal at the World Championships in Doha in 2019.
Between 2013 and 2015, he had represented Antigua and Barbuda in international events but has represented USA since 2019.
Father Winston had played 21 Tests between 1987 and 1995, picking 61 wickets. He also played 85 ODIs between 1986 and 1995, picking 100 wickets.