NAME: Akanni Hislop
FORMER SCHOOLS: Bishop's High School/Louisiana State University
SPORT: Track and Field
EVENT: Men's 4x100-metre relay
OLYMPIC EXPERIENCE: Debut
KEY ACHIEVEMENTS: 2019 Pan Am silver in 4x100m relay, multiple Carifta Games gold medallist
AKANNI Hislop will make his first trip to the Olympics at the 2020 Tokyo Games, which will be held from July 23-August 8. Hislop has been selected on the TT men’s 4x100-metre team which is a youthful unit sprinkled with a bit of experience.
"Being selected for the team is a big honour for me...even though this was not the best year for me collegiate wise it means a lot that my hard work paid off and I actually get to represent my country in one of the highest levels," Hislop told Newsday.
Hislop, 23, will join fellow Olympic debutants Kion Benjamin, Adell Colthrust, Jonathan Farinha and Eric Harrison on the team. Also travelling to Tokyo is 2008 men’s 100m silver medallist Richard Thompson, 36, who will make his fourth appearance at the Olympics.
The men’s 4x100m team is going through a transition period. The crop of 4x100m athletes remained relatively unchanged during the last three Olympic Games including the 2008 Beijing Games, 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Games.
Thompson, Marc Burns, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Aaron Armstrong have made up the core of the team for more than a decade.
Hislop, a former student of Bishop’s High School in Tobago, was a standout athlete for TT at junior level winning multiple gold medals at the Carifta Games.
He also represented TT at world junior meets including the 2014 Youth Olympics.
Hislop was the fastest TT men’s 100 runner at the Bahamas National Junior and Senior Track and Field Championships held on the weekend before the June 29 deadline to qualify for the Olympics.
He clocked 10.33 seconds in heat one of the preliminaries.
Hislop recently ended his US collegiate career on a winning note with Louisiana State University (LSU). He ran the third leg for the LSU quartet which won gold in 38.48 at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Outdoor Track and Field National Championship in June.
Hislop said he was elated to end his college career on a high. “It was a great feeling…I could say this is the first time in the five years at LSU that we actually completed the relay at nationals because usually we always have a kind of mishap or we drop the baton or something and we never get to finish the race.”
He added, “All the hard work that I put in throughout the years it paid off at the end at least.”
Asked about how he feels about his transition from a junior to a senior athlete, Hislop said, “I am not really satisfied, but I am okay with how I am progressing because I always feel I could be better.”
Hislop, who is hungry for success, said, “I can’t just say that I did not achieve anything because as a senior I won a medal at Pan Ams for relay and then we just won again (with LSU), so I feel I still achieved things going into a senior level.”
Hislop was part of the TT men’s 4x100m quartet which earned silver at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.