Sashoy Benbow finally makes breakthroughThursday, January 07, 2021
By Dwayne Richards
There are no two stories that follow the same script in life and oftentimes there is a story told of a star emerging from deep obscurity to shine brighter than all others.
Sashoy Benbow is hoping to be that star for Jamaica in both the discus and shot put events.
The former Queen's School and Excelsior High School student missed out on two chances to prove her worth on local soil, but despite the setbacks, has managed to snag a scholarship to East Carolina University in the United States.
Benbow's first real setback came at the 2019 staging of the Inter-secondary School Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships (“Champs”) which was her last opportunity to shine at the high school level.
“It wasn't really a good outcome for me because I got sick a few days before the competition and it affected my throwing. I didn't get the distance that I wanted [in the prelims], so that caused me not to be able to compete in the finals,” she explained.
After leaving high school with three experiences under her belt but nothing to show for it, the 20-year-old continued her athletic journey at The University of the West Indies and was getting ready for her first Intercollegiate Championships last year, when the event got cancelled due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
“I was very disappointed because I wanted to go out there and showcase my talent so that people could see that I have come from very far, to come at this level and throw the discus and the shot put and to get great distances. But because of the pandemic, I understand that we have to take precautionary measures to keep safe.”
Benbow has relished the opportunity to be back in training after the lockdown had caused everything to come to a complete stop.
“It has been good. Starting back training hasn't been easy, but after a few weeks I have gotten back into the groove. I have found my technique with the help of my coach and it has been very good. I feel accommodated, I feel like I am making progress, it has been great.”
Originally a shot put specialist, Benbow is currently under the guidance of Julian Robinson who has added the discus to her repertoire, and she says her passion for throwing is what kept her motivated during the unexpected and extended break.
“What kept me motivated is the passion I have for the sport and I put in a lot of work to reach thus far and to stop, being that it is track and field, it's not easy to come back after that because you cannot just say I am going to relax. You will lose what you have gained and it will be hard for you to come back at that level, so what I did, even though things happened, I continued to train. I stayed home, I did push-ups, I did abs, I went to the gym when it was open and safe and I continued to train with Mr Robinson.”
Even though she had kept training, Benbow was completely surprised to receive the scholarship which came about after her coach sent a training video to a coach at East Carolina University.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity because to see that I have been trying for very, very long and to achieve this, it has made me feel grateful. I even cried when coach told me about the scholarship.
“I was like oh my God, I cannot believe that I have received this and I am just grateful that Mr Robinson took the time and gave me the opportunity to go and study and train abroad and that he believed in my talent; I am just grateful.”
Benbow also has a message for student athletes who may be struggling mentally and emotionally at this time.
“I just want them to have a positive mindset during this time. I know it's hard but we have to keep positive, we have to keep training and saying yes, we can do this. Also push yourself and don't limit yourself because you are all destined for greatness, and don't give up on your dreams because it can, honestly, be manifested.”
She also stressed the need to pay attention to schoolwork.
“The most important thing is to remember that you are a student athlete and saying that means you are a student first and an athlete after, because oftentimes we forget the schoolwork aspect and it plays an important part in us achieving the school that we desire.”
The gender studies major, who lists Danniel Thomas-Dodd, Sandra Perkovic and Valery Allman as her idols, has her eyes set on representing her country so that one day, she too can be an inspiration to others.
“I want to represent Jamaica in the discus and the shot put because it would be very interesting for me. When you get to represent Jamaica, you know that the hard work has paid off and you are now representing your country and you can share your story with others and it can inspire them as well.”
Her final words to high school athletes are truly inspirational.
“Even if you didn't receive a medal at Champs, even if you weren't a star in the season, you can work past those adversities and become great. Never give up!”
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