IN recent years, a number of Jamaican athletes have made the move to represent other countries, but US-born middle-distance runner Asia Henry has made the deliberate move to compete at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Championships.
Henry holds dual citizenship, the product of a Jamaican father and American mother, and earlier this year she completed the process of acquiring a Jamaican passport so she would be eligible to compete for the land of her father's birth this summer.
She will contest the 800m alongside her idol, national champion and record-holder Kenia Sinclair.
"I feel like it's a great experience and I feel like it's hard to make a US team, but Kenia is fast and she always is in the mix with them and ends up beating a lot of them," Henry told the Jamaica Observer.
She added: "She always comes to the top and I feel like it would be great to race against her and a great experience if I could represent Jamaica."
The 21-year-old native of Rochester, New York, is currently a junior at the University of Buffalo.
With a personal record of two minutes, 04.65 seconds, Henry is sometimes baffled by her ability to compete in the half-mile event.
"It's hard. It's a hard race. I still don't understand how my body can do it. (However) I feel most comfortable with that event. It's great if I could do something else."
She is looking forward to racing this weekend, but is not necessarily pinning all her hopes on competing for Jamaica at the London Olympic Games.
Henry would also be happy if she makes the team to the NACAC Championships.
"I'm really, really nervous and scared... the competition has been high quality. I'm glad it's straight final and not semis, but it should be fun," she said.
Henry visited Jamaica as a child but has not returned in 17 years although she still has a grandfather and uncles who live in Jamaica who have shared stories about their exploits as children.
"Most of their stories (are) about running track and how they used to run so fast," she shared.
However, it is a different experience to return as an adult.
"It's really different because you drive on the opposite side of the road. The parks are beautiful. Everyone loves the culture and there are flags everywhere.
"I never paid attention to it, but when I came here and saw all the kids in uniform, it was a little intense," she added.