Keston Bledman has advised young athletes to take school seriously. The Trinidad and Tobago track star turned pro early, skipping the American collegiate system.
“Get an education. That’s one of my regrets. I never liked school.
“Always have something to fall back on,” Bledman continued. “For those who don’t know, when you go to school and you run fast in school, you get a gigantic contract because you’re out there on the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) circuit and everybody knows you. For all who like money and nice things, go to school and learn your work.”
Bledman was speaking during the latest edition of the new online series, Athlete Talks. Retired national athletes, Jamaal James and Zwede Hewitt hosted the show, with 200 metres sprinter Kyle Greaux sitting in as a guest host.
Bledman said his example was not the best one for young athletes to follow.
“I went pro from youthman because I saw money and I cut one time. At the time that was better for me. Don’t do like me. I want the youths to focus. Trinidad and Tobago, we have some mad, mad talent. But you need to focus and stop watching what other people have and what other people are doing. It doesn’t come in one day. Believe in yourself, believe in your coach, and trust God.
“Faith is invisible, but you just have to trust it. There were many times I doubted myself, everything I doubted. I would say ‘why me Lord, why me, why I got hurt?’ But that is where you have to buckle down and focus. Trinidad and Tobago has real talent, but forget about who ain’t getting funding. Yes, that’s part of it, a big part of it. But at the end of the day, control what you can control.”
During Athlete Talks, Bledman revealed that he is writing a book. The 2008 Olympic 4x100m gold medallist said to “expect the book by the end of the year”.
“It’s almost finished. It’s just that with all the Covid-19, with the world upside down, and Black Lives Matter, all that going on, putting a book out there makes no sense.”
US-based Bledman was on the track on Saturday, competing for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the 2020 track and field season. At the Showdown in OTown, in Florida, the 32-year-old finished fourth in heat five in the men’s 100m in 10.46 seconds. He did not qualify for the final. American Trayvon Bromell won the heat in 10.04, but opted out of the final, which was won by another American, Kenny Bednarek in 10.14.
Bledman is married to former athlete Afiya Bledman (formerly Walker). They have two daughters, seven-year-old Zion and Zendaya, four. Zion and Zendaya recently launched an online boutique, “Zi&Zen Girlie Boutique”. Interested persons can view outfits on Instagram @zizen_girlieboutique, Facebook @zizengirlieboutique or zizengirlieboutique.com.
The next episode of Athlete Talks, featuring shot putter Portious Warren and sprinter Mauricia Prieto, is scheduled for tomorrow from 8pm, at www.zoom.us (ID: 843 7672 1532). Hewitt and reigning Commonwealth Games men’s 200m champion Jereem “The Dream” Richards will co-host the show. Like Richards, Warren and Prieto competed with distinction for the University of Alabama.