Olympic-bound Kion Benjamin will be among nine T&T athletes who will compete at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-18, U-20,U-23 Championships which starts tomorrow (on Friday) and runs until Sunday in Costa Rica.
Benjamin, who on Saturday was named as a member of the men's 4x100 metres relay squad which also include three-time Olympic medallist Richard Thompson, Eric Harrison, Akanni Hislop and Adell Colthrust and latest addition Jonathon Farinha for the Tokyo Games in Japan, is one of two sprinters to face the starter in the 100m dash in the U-23 category. The other runner is Tyrell Edwards and they will compete in the first session on the opening day.
The Olympic Games is scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8 and Benjamin is using it as a means to prepare and chase glory at the NACAC Championships which runs until Sunday in the city of San Jose.
"I believe basically NACAC this weekend will be a good little just warm-up for the Olympic Games," said Benjamin. "I believe the competition will be good but for me personally I don't really like to think about other people, I just focus on myself, trust myself and trust my form and just go and do what I could do, execute my race and what ever is to come will come and just let God handle everything else."
Both Benjamin and Edwards last competed at the Bahamas National Championships at the Thomas A Robinson Stadium in Nassau in the 100m which featured former national sprint champion Keston Bledman.
Benjamin and Callender both clocked 10.42 seconds with the former coming out on top by the a narrow margin in heat three while Edwards placed third in 10.55.
Iantha Wright is the lone women's competitor in the U-23 category and she will line up in the 100m.
Tyriq Horsford and Clement Campbell in the long jump will also competed in the U-23 men's category. Horsford, who is a five-time Carifta javelin champion, will throw in that event and Campbell will be seeking to leap to glory in the long jump event.
The U-20 category was a late addition by NACAC to the Championships, which originally catered for the U-18 and U-23 age groups. However, the U-23 and U-20 athletes will be compete together because there are no separate events for U-20.
T&T will have four athletes in action in this age-group including quartermiler Rae-Anne Serville, sprinters Leah Bertrand and Shakeem McKay, and hurdler Dillon Leacock
Serville will take up the challenge in the women's 400m. She owns the T&T junior record in he one-lap event (52.89).
Bertrand, who proved herself to be the fastest women's sprinter in the country, winning both women's 100m events at the Olympic Trials, will face the starter in the dash.
McKay will race in the men's 200m and Leacock, the men's 4000m hurdles. At the recent Olympic Trails, hosted by the National Association of Athletics Administration of T&T, McKay topped the 200m field with a 21.33-clocking.
According to the NAAATT in a release, the team, which departed yesterday (Wednesday) was confirmed based on athletes availability and acquiring all COVID-19 traveling protocols.
U-23: Iantha Wright (100m)
U-20: Rae-Anne Serville (400m), Leah Bertrand (100m)
U-20: Shakeem McKay (200m), Dillon Leacock (400m H)
Men U-23 Male: Kion Benjamin 100m, Tyrell Edwards (100m), Clement Campbell (long jump), Tyriq Horsford (javelin)
Officials: Durly Lucas (team manager/coach), Antonia Burton (coach), Wendell Williams (coach)