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Kelly-Ann Baptiste initially attempted netball and tennis, but she had issues “jumping around on a court for 60 minutes” in the first, and swinging the racket for long periods in the second. So she took a friend’s suggestion to try running track, an idea that turned into a journey which has taken her from the CARIFTA Games in the Caribbean to Louisiana State University (LSU) on a track scholarship to the World Championships in athletics and the Olympic Games.
Usually shy and reserved, Baptiste has become less of an introvert over the years. She loves music and will listen to anything that’s catchy. Her preference, however, ranges from gospel and contemporary rock to dancehall, rhythm and blues and, of course, soca.
A product of the close-knit Plymouth in Scarborough, she was not among a number of athletes who returned home from the US to live and train in the Caribbean, and she regrets nothing about her decision to attend college in the US. “For me, I had no choice,” she shared. “There was no professional track in Trinidad, so that was my way out.” And it wasn’t hard for her to adjust, since she went to school with several Caribbean athletes and was trained by Jamaican assistant coaches.
Baptiste’s aspirations are larger than being the top female sprinter on the twin-island republic or even being average; she strives to go down in history as one the greatest 100m sprinters – ever. That target keeps the 2011 Daegu World Championships bronze medalist focused on the coveted Olympic gold.