Obama, who was in Trinidad for the recently concluded Fifth Summit of the Americas, met the world record holder for highest cricket Test score (400 not out) and the pair shared a few laughs before Lara presented the US President with an autographed cricket bat.
Obama was at the Hilton Trinidad for a US post-summit press conference outlining the achieved objectives and unsuccessful discussions that took place with the other heads of state of the Americas.
He was given a surprise after its conclusion, however, with an unexpected encounter with the West Indies cricket legend. Obama who played basketball for his high school varsity team and is still an avid basketball fan, was keen to know more about the sport of cricket which is similar to the more US-familiar baseball, and was given a free demonstration by arguably cricket’s greatest ever bastman. Lara showed Obama the proper batting stance and gave a few tips on the forward defensive stroke as well as a demonstration on how to execute the classic cover drive.Trinidad Hilton general manager Ali Khan revealed yesterday that Obama was pleasantly surprised to be face-to-face with Lara and joked about cricket. Lara’s daughter Sydney was also present as well to meet the first African-American US President.
Khan noted Lara was exhilarated to meet the US President personally.
“It was beautiful. You could see the expression on his face and his daughter’s. He was truly emotional and touched as were all of us,” he said.
Khan explained Obama was astounded by the remarkable view at the terrace which prompted them to name the terrace after their esteemed visitor.
“His presence has blessed the hotel as has other guests like former South African President Nelson Mandela,” he said. Obama was full of praise for the hotel and expressed his delight on the breathtaking view.
“This is nice. This is a nice view, huh? Oh it’s beautiful,” Obama remarked as he began his speech at the press conference on Sunday.