As a six-year-old outsprinting his friends in playground races at George Town Primary School, Kemar Hyman knew he was fast.
It was not until much later that he realized just how fast, and how far his speed would take him.
It is testament to how far he has come that when he lines up against Usain Bolt in front of thousands of spectators at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on Saturday, he has a realistic hope that the sprint spectacle will be a dry run for the Olympic final in Rio later this year.
Can he beat the world’s fastest man?
“Nothing is impossible,” says Hyman.
“I am in shape and it is always a fast race when these guys come down. Hopefully, they can push me to do something really good.”
Bolt, an icon of the sport and multiple record holder, will no doubt hog the limelight on Saturday.
But Hyman, who is among an elite band of just 108 sprinters to break the 10-second barrier in the 100 meters, is the hometown favorite.
“Obviously, everyone loves Usain Bolt,” he said. “He’s the world record holder, he’s won more medals that I can count and he’s a great icon for the whole sport. But when my name is called, I am pretty sure they will give me some cheers as well.”
Bolt is not the only tough competitor in the field. Kemar Bailey-Cole, his Jamaican sprint teammate, came close to beating him at the same event in 2013.
It took a photo-finish to separate them.
“It’s a fast track so I think we could see a sub-10-second race,” says Hyman.
The 26-year-old has already qualified for the Olympics and sees Saturday’s race as a good chance to gauge where he is at ahead of Rio.
After Saturday, he returns to Georgia, where he trains full time as a Mizuno-sponsored athlete and works as a volunteer track coach at the University of Georgia. He will race the European circuit in May and June, aiming to peak ahead of the Olympics in August.
“I got to the semifinals last time, so I’m looking for the finals this time,” he said.
Despite training and competing overseas, Hyman has not forgotten his George Town roots.
He called in at George Town Primary School earlier this week to race with the kids and offer some words of inspiration.
He’s excited about some of the emerging talent coming out of the Cayman Islands. He cites 400m runner Jamal Walton and javelin thrower Alex Pascal as two to watch.
He’s hoping for a full house Saturday night for all the races, not just the star-studded 100m finale.
One person who he knows will be there to offer support is his mother. She’s collected every trophy he has ever won, since primary school.
“She’s saved all of them. I don’t know how she does it,” he said.