Mere hours before the cut-off period for athletes to attain qualifying marks to compete at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Jamaica’s Navasky Anderson went to the starting line for the men’s 800m at the DC Track Championships in Fairfax, Virginia on Sunday.
Just under two minutes later, he had not only broken his own one-year-old national record, running 1:44.70, but he also secured qualification for the World Championships and achieved the standard for the 2024 Olympic Games to be held in Paris, France.
With the qualifying window slammed shut on Sunday, he ran the exact time required for automatic qualification for the World Championships and the Olympic Games. He was second in the event to Edose Ibadin who won with 1:44.65 minutes, while John Rivera was third in 1:45.29.
“That was an indescribable feeling, a moment of greatness that I dreamt of,” Anderson, who had finished second at the Jamaica’s athletics championships in early July, said.
“I firmly believe that God is a sports fan, and I’m beyond grateful for the incredible journey I’ve been on. Every trial, every struggle, and even those challenging times were essential steps in my path to greatness. I had to overcome those hurdles to become the first Jamaican man to break 1:45 in the 800m, etching my name forever in the history books,” he added.
Anderson, a former St Jago High runner, broke his previous best 1:45.02 set when he placed second at the NCAA Division One Outdoors championships in 2022. He improved his time for the fifth-straight race in an injury-ravaged season.
“This season has been an incredible journey, one that has taught me valuable lessons,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
“It’s been a true test of my character, pushing me to my limits and literally took blood, sweat, and tears to reach this point.
“Alongside my amazing support system, I’ve come to realise that living the 800m is the key to unlocking the next level of my potential. As an athlete, learning never stops – understanding the highs and lows, navigating through challenges, and constantly improving are all part of the process,” Anderson said.
Anderson had his best season in 2022 when he won the South-Eastern Conference (SEC) outdoor title, was second at the NCAA Outdoors, broke the Jamaican record that stood for nearly 50 years, won his first national title then competed at both the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
This season started promisingly when he ran 1:49.67 in the preliminaries of the NCAA Indoors, but he was disqualified for “obstruction” after he had crossed the line first.
His difficulties had started before that, however, he told the Jamaica Observer.
“Among those struggles, one of the toughest challenges was battling injuries since January 27, as I have noted in my journal. Despite the setbacks, I managed to run 1:45.91 indoors and continued to face more injuries during the outdoor season.
“These adversities have been my learning ground, teaching me valuable lessons in resilience and strength. I’m determined to handle any adversity better, and that progress means everything to me.”
There is no giving up now, he said. And after running faster on each of his last five races, including 1:45.70 on July 22 – a time that would ironically have got him to Budapest – he noted his role in bringing hope to others.
“I firmly believe that each performance is a stepping stone on the path to greatness. For me, it’s not just about personal achievements; it’s about being a champion for those who look up to me. I take pride in being a source of inspiration, motivation, and a big brother figure in this sport.
“I want to show everyone, regardless of their chosen event – be it 800m, 1,500m, or 5,000m – that dominance is achievable. From the Olympics to the Commonwealth and World Championships, the possibilities are boundless,” he explained.
“This journey is about more than personal bests or national records; it’s about being the person my people, my supporters, need me to be. When the pressure is at its peak, I strive to be their unwavering champion. The passion and dedication of my supporters fuel my drive, and for that, I extend my heartfelt gratitude,” he continued.
After breaking the national record and qualifying for two big upcoming athletics events, Anderson said it was all destined.
“Qualifying for both the World Championships and the Olympic Games has filled me with boundless hope and excitement. I believe that my destiny is written by a divine hand, with a golden pen. God has equipped me with the strength to overcome any battle, and it’s all part of my journey to reach the pinnacle of success. I’m relentlessly preparing and ready to give my all for my people once again,” he said.