Most six-year-olds dream of having a party for their birthday, maybe even a cake and a gift or two. But when Khari John’s mom asked him what he wanted for his birthday last Saturday, he told her he wanted to go for a run around Larry Gomes’ Stadium in Arima.
“I can’t change his mind,” said his mother, Teneka John with a laugh. She said Khari watches videos of his hero Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt on YouTube all the time. She says she got him into track and field because he was always running around the house, and thought it would be a good outlet for him to burn up all his energy.
Khari started training with the Fire Fitness Athletics Club when he was four and takes his training very seriously. He eats lots of fruits and vegetables which his mother says gives him even more energy. He wakes up early every morning and heads from home in Sangre Grande to Eddie Hart Savannah, Tacarigua to practise from 7 am to 8.30 am.
Khari will be entering second year at Cunapo St Francis RC in September and when school reopens, it means afternoon training, three days a week from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm.
At school, Khari is very good at mathematics and made sure to practise and keep up with his studies while he was at home.
Also during the lockdown, Khari’s coach sent him videos for him to continue with his training, but like many of his friends stuck at home, he got bored of running around the yard and is excited to be back out on the field.
Khari’s mother said while she explained to him why he had to stay at home, he was anxious to continue his training. “He was okay because he was able to see his teachers and friends on Zoom, and he was sometimes afraid for me to go out, even for groceries. But what was really important to him was getting back to track and field.”
Last year, Khari set out to win ten medals, and succeeded. He won three medals at his school’s sports day, and seven others at various five-kilometre racing events over the year. Some of these include We Run Arima, with a time of 42.06 seconds, Ventura Credit Union 5K, CIC 5K and, RBC race for the kids and the Guardian Group Shine Charity Walk and Run, with a personal best of 31.31 seconds.
Khari also loves watching basketball, but nothing could take him away from his love for track and field.
“He is so engrossed in running,” said his mother.
When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he said, “I want to be a runner,” with excitement.