Fri | Sep 29, 2023
Road to Champs

‘I would have probably given up’

Bennett lauds son’s perseverance after spate of injury setbacks

Published:Wednesday | March 29, 2023 | 1:44 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Zico Bennett (right) and teammate Oneika McAnuff during a Hydel High school training session as they prepare for Champs.
Zico Bennett (right) and teammate Oneika McAnuff during a Hydel High school training session as they prepare for Champs.

WHEN HYDEL High’s Zico Bennett steps on the track today for the start of the boys’ decathlon at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, it will be the climax of an injury-riddled journey which has tested him physically and...

WHEN HYDEL High’s Zico Bennett steps on the track today for the start of the boys’ decathlon at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, it will be the climax of an injury-riddled journey which has tested him physically and mentally. But he is banking on his spiritual growth.

Bennett is almost a year removed from knee surgery, which ended his 2022 campaign, the latest setback in a track and field journey which took him from Wolmer’s Boys’ School to Jamaica College and now to Hydel, where he has the unique situation of being coached by his father, Hydel and Calabar head coach Corey.

As the lone boy representing Hydel this year, Bennett said it has been his growth in his faith that has been a big part of his revival this season as well as the constant work with his coaches and family.

“I combated it with a lot of prayers and a lot of self-motivation along with my coaches and parents’ guidance,” Bennett told The Gleaner.

“Last year I didn’t have a relationship with God, but this year I have focused on building a relationship with Him, praying every day and getting better with Him and I have seen it play out tremendously this season.”

Bennett’s desire to compete is also rooted in family history as he watched his brother, who was also plagued by injuries, miss out on a chance to compete. With the event being a favourite for both brothers, Bennett says he hopes to make both him and his father proud this season.

“I love it because my brother competed in it two years ago. Last year he had a season-ending injury so he couldn’t compete last year in the decathlon. This year I am doing it for him and doing it also for my dad,” Bennett said.

“Our main aim is to always make my father proud. He has done a lot of things for different athletes and also for us. This year I just want to make him proud and my brother proud.”

His father, Corey, is already proud of how his son has persevered throughout his high school career, praising his mental strength in the face of difficult challenges

“It has always been rough to coach your child but he wants it. He wants to do well. If it were me, I probably would have given up the sport. He broke his leg in first form while at Wolmer’s and then he transferred to JC. It has been a rough journey for him but to see him displace his kneecap at a track meet last year, had to do surgery and be back out here running and competing the way he has been, it is just a blessing from God and I think we are all thankful,” the elder Bennett said.

The boys’ decathlon will begin this morning at 9.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com