You may recall seeing her run the first leg of the 4x100 relay for T&T in Korea last year for the World Championships. Kai Selvon is quickly becoming one of T&T’s leading female track and field athletes. Training with her local club Airbonsonics for nine years, Selvon has travelled to many countries, including Poland, Beijing, Italy and Korea, for track meets. Currently a student at Auburn University in Texas, she continues to train as a hopeful for this year’s London Olympics.
You are a London Olympic hopeful this year. What is your mindset like for trials in June?
My mindset for the trials is to go out there and give it my all. God helps those who help themselves, and I know I’ve helped myself in terms of training hard and the other necessities it requires to be one of the best, so I will leave Him to do his part.
How is the preparation that you are undergoing for the Olympics different from your regular training?
The training preparations are much harder because I see the capability of my competitors, so the intensity has been stepped up.
How is your relationship with your coach, Henry Rolle?
My relationship with my coach is as typical as a coach and athlete relationship will be. He does his part in putting his best foot forward to make me the athlete he knows I am capable of being.
What is the best advice you have ever received from him?
To go out there and run my race. I recall in the National Outdoors last year (4x4 relay), one of the athletes from the favoured team (Texas A and M) was coming to pass me from the sidelines, and I heard his distinct voice saying, “Come on, Kai, she can’t catch you, she can’t beat you. Run, Kai, run.” Just that little bit of advice gave me the extra push to finish the race.
You represent Auburn University at track meets and this year you set a record of 23.15 in the 200-metre (indoor)—the fifth fastest time in the country. What did that victory mean to you?
Knowing that my time ranked me fifth in the country was a comforting feeling. Just knowing that I had make it to Nationals to run the 200 metre made me excited because it was my first Indoor Nationals.
Is breaking records at the forefront of your mind?
No. I am only concerned with doing my best. However, if I do break a record, it’s just like icing on the cake.
How has the club, Airbonsonics, contributed to the success that you are experiencing now?
Through the foundation I received while being there. You know they say foundation is the most important.
Which athlete in your field inspires you and why?
Marion Jones, because that’s the first female athlete I knew growing up and everyone would say I remind them of her.
Who has been your fiercest competitor?
You have also represented this country in the World Championships in Korea last year, where the relay team placed fourth in the 4x100. What was that experience like?
A shake-up, or an eye-opener. I was able to see my competitors and my capability to compete with them. I realised that I am not just a contestant but I’m a competitor.
Athletes often grouse about the lack of support for national athletes. What are your thoughts on that?
I’m not a pro, so I cannot really give my opinion on it.
What has been your greatest achievement thus far?
I have a number of achievements, but I think the one that stands out the most is making it to World Championships in Korea.
You are studying industrial design. Do you have plans to pursue a career in that field?
Yes. Industrial design involves designing products, and after I am finished with school, I would like to design for major sports companies to help improve the design of sporting equipment.
Does Kai Selvon have any interests other than track and field?
I like to play football, and since I was a child I dreamed about playing the saxophone and learning how to tap dance.
Describe yourself in three words.
Hardworking, dedicated and focused.