When Afiya made London 2012 extra special for Keston Bledman

By April 22, 2020
London 2012 was extra special for Keston Bledman (kneeling). London 2012 was extra special for Keston Bledman (kneeling).

With a personal best of 9.86 in the 100m, Keston Bledman is arguably one of the most-talented sprinters ever to come out of Trinidad and Tobago.  His talent was evident from very early on when he won a bronze medal in the 100m at the World U18 Championships in Marrakech in 2005.

In 2007, he upset Jamaica’s Yohan Blake to win gold at the Pan American Junior Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In retrospect, it really was not a surprise when he made Trinidad and Tobago’s team to his first-ever Olympics, the 2008 Games in Beijing where he was a reserve for the 4x100m relay.

That team of Bledman, Mark Burns, Richard Thompson and Emmanuel Callender would win silver behind Jamaica that year. However, they were upgraded to the gold medal a decade later when Jamaica’s leadoff runner, Nesta Carter, returned an adverse finding from a re-test of his 2008 sample.

The medal was the first for any Trinidadian relay team at an Olympic Games and while that was a special occasion to the then 20-year-old Bledman, it is from the 2012 Games in London that he found his best memory.

“For most people, their first Olympics is their best Olympics. Beijing was my first Olympics but my best Olympics was 2012,” he said. “In Beijing, I had just run the relay, in London, it was the first Olympics I was competing in an individual event, the 100m, so that was like a dream come true for me.”

Bledman advanced to the semi-finals of the 100m and just missed out on a place in the final. However, he would win another medal, a silver in the sprint relay later on in the championships, but that is only part of what made London 2012 memorable for the speedy Trinidadian.

His memories of London 2012 was more special for one specific reason.

“My wife was pregnant with my daughter, my first child, Zion. When you are running and looking in the stands and you can see someone waving to you, it is a big thing. That was special to me,” he said.

He tells the story of how his wife, Afiya, and her mother surprised him when they showed up in London. “If I was running in Trinidad they would usually come to see me run but when I am running in Paris or Monaco, or London, somewhere far, it’s hard,” he said.

“In London, my dad was working, my mom was working so it was a surprise. They were like ‘guess where we are?’ And I said ‘don’t play with me’.

Bledman’s wife and mother-in-law arrived at the Olympic Village and they went to a nearby mall to eat. “It was really, really nice,” he recalled, adding that things only got better from there.

“We slept at the hotel, got to rub her belly, stuff that I would not have got to do if she was home.”

The presence of his pregnant wife also provided a bit of motivation for the Olympic medallist.

Before the start of the relay finals, Bledman began experiencing a bit of an issue.

“My right hip had started acting up really bad. I had actually pulled myself out of the relay team but when I was warming up, I felt good. My whole thing was that my wife had come so far to see me run and I wasn’t going to get to run in this relay,” he said.

Bottom line, he ran and T&T won their medal and there was a sweet cherry on top waiting in the stands.

“When I saw my wife in her TT jacket, big belly; my mother-in-law standing next to her, and she waved back, it was like an adrenaline rush to me.”


Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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