Olympic hopeful Ronald Forbes was unable to walk two months ago. After a “miracle” comeback, he will step into the Maracana Stadium in Rio on Monday believing he has a genuine shot at glory in the 110-meter hurdles.
Forbes and 100m sprinter Kemar Hyman are both hoping to make the final in their respective events as track and field takes center stage this weekend.
If Hyman, 26, comes through the heats on Saturday, he will go on to the semifinals on Sunday evening and could ultimately be competing in the most hotly anticipated event of the games – the 100m final, with Jamaican legend Usain Bolt going for an unprecedented third gold on the bounce.
Hyman told the Cayman Compass his training had gone well and he was feeling good ahead of the race.
“Usain Bolt has said this is his last Olympics. If he goes in there and breaks the world record, hopefully I am right behind him. When people watch the race back on YouTube in future, they will be able to say ‘That’s the Cayman guy.’ That would be big.”
He believes he will have to repeat his best performance and run a sub 10-second race to get there.
“That is what I am looking towards. I just need the right race, the right energy, everything needs to be clicking,” he said.
For 31-year-old Forbes, it is an achievement just to be in the starter’s blocks for Monday’s race after picking up a severe calf injury in May, just after a personal best time of 13:36 in Miami.
“I was able to get some of the best help in the world, medical-wise. Less than two months ago, I couldn’t walk; right now I am springing hurdles and my times in practice reflect where I was pre-injury,” Forbes said.
“I had about five doctors say this is going to take a long period of time to get over. I’ve beaten every single timeline by far on the recovery phase of this. I am very glad to be where I am right now.”
Forbes said he would not be using his injury struggles as a crutch and still expects to contest for a spot in the finals.
“I go out there and execute to the best of my ability – that’s what people expect from me and that’s what I have to deliver. I am expecting a great crowd, a great race and everyone at home to cheer those of us who have still to compete. I am expecting a great result”
The men’s 100m heats start at 7:30 a.m. Cayman time on Saturday, and the semifinals and finals start at 7 p.m. Sunday.
The 110m hurdles heats start at 6:40 p.m. Monday, with the semifinals and finals starting at the same time the following day.