It probably takes Rajendrakumar Mahabir longer to write his name than it does to run the indoor track 400-meter race.
Ok, that may be a stretch, but the Barnstable track captain has been a leader of this squad this winter. So, it’s no surprise that his 13-letter first name -- Rajendrakumar -- means “king” in the native language of his parents, who are natives of Trinidad and Tobago.
Raj -- as he is known for short -- learned how to spell his lengthy first name before he was in kindergarten and has found speeding around a track something he was probably born to do.
“He’s really a team leader and whatever you ask of him he’ll do with no complaints,” lauded Barnstable track coach Dave Faszewski. “When it comes to the drills, he’s spot on. He does everything by the book.”
A four-year member of the indoor and spring track squads, Mahabir joined the school’s cross country team for the first time last fall with successful results.
“It was interesting,” he said. “I usually run the 300-, 400- and now 600-meters first time this winter. Cross country gave me more stamina and helped me work on my form.”
One of his goals this spring will be a shot at the school record in the 400-meter run of 50.96 run by Jared Kalweit in 2002.
“I’m just trying to shoot for a 49,” Mahabir said. “In the 4x400 relays this winter I’ve been around a 53, so it’s possible. I like going as fast as I can around the track.”
Faszewski has been very impressed by the work ethic of his senior.
“He’s gradually progressed and indoors went from the 400 to the 600, which is really long,” the coach said. “He’s very good at it and probably better at it than the 300.”
Mahabir will run the 400 in this weekend’s South Sectionals at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston.
20 Questions with Raj Mahabir
1. Favorite subject: Police Academy
2. Favorite book: “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien
3. Favorite food: There are way too many authentic foods to choose from. My mom makes a meal with roti, pumpkin, chicken, and goat. It’s like a skillet dish.
4. Favorite movie: “The Dark Knight;” Batman is my favorite superhero.
5. Favorite TV show: “Game of Thrones”
6. Favorite Cape restaurant: My house -- there is nothing better than a home-cooked meal.
7. Favorite Cape hangout: My house. I love to play video games for hours upon end.
8. Favorite sports team: New England Patriots
9. Favorite athlete: I'm my #1 favorite athlete. I just try to work to get better.
10. Favorite ‘pump-up” music: 50 Cent
11. Best advice I’ve received: “Work hard to achieve your goals and you'll find a way, without a doubt, no matter the cost.”
12. Person I’d most like to meet: God. I want to find out if he really exists.
13. Hobbies and interests: running track, playing video games, hanging out with my family.
14. Own greatest sports moment: Last year running spring track outside in our first meet. I came in first in the 400-meter race.
15. Most inspirational person: My parents. I learned so much from them and I wouldn't be here without them.
16. Pregame rituals / superstitions: To have a calm and steady mindset going into my race and trying to imagine how I'm going to run.
17. Bucket list place to visit: Trinidad and Tobago, the two countries my parents are from and where they grew up until they moved to America.
18. Biggest sports setback or obstacle: Myself. I always had the hunger and aggression to do better each time I'd race on the track. It’s always been me against the time.
19. College plans / major: I plan on majoring in Criminal Justice to become a police officer and save other people’s lives in desperate situations.
20. Advice to young athletes: The sky's the limit. The work you put in is the work (reward) you're going to get out of it.
Know someone who'd be a great candidate for the Barnstable Patriot's 20 Questions feature? Contact Mike Richard at email@example.com.