Jamaica’s 800m field to a major track and field event is set to tally more than one athlete for the first time in a while.
Navasky Anderson broke the 45-year-old Men’s 800m national record when he clocked a personal best 1:45.02s to finish second at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, recently and in the interim achieved the qualifying standard to represent Jamaica in the World Athletics Championships at the same venue in July.
While this has brought joy to the Jamaican track and field community, there is someone even more intricately involved in the discipline who is basking in the achievement of the Mississippi State junior.
“It has been me for a long time by myself and to be able to know that I am going to have males who are running the 800m, it feels great. I am not alone anymore,” said a delighted Natoya Goule-Topping, the eight-time women’s 800m National champion.
Goule-Topping is hoping that by the time the National Championships are complete on Sunday, the pool of 800m runners heading to Eugene between July 15-24 could number at least four athletes.
“It’s a great pleasure knowing that the guys are stepping up and having Chris-Ann (Gordon) running as well, I hope she gets the standard and be able to go to the World Championships because it would be nice to not be the only one out there competing for Jamaica in the middle-distance,” she said.
The former Manchester High standout has been on the island for a few days now, preparing for her event which takes place on the final day of the championships and she has been enjoying her training.
“Having someone to train with at Trials this year, Tarees Rhoden from Clemson University is here and to be able to warm up with him and do a workout with him, it felt great.”
Based on where she is in her season compared to previous years, Goule-Topping says she should have been running faster by now but is looking forward to doing something special on Sunday.
“On paper I should be running 1:54 right now, but we will see what God has in store for me. Being able to open my season with the fastest opener, I know what I can do, and I am going to put it out there. I am going to ensure that I do what I am supposed to do.”
Her season opener this year of 2:00.01 has been her best ever and this has added a spring in the step of the half mile runner.
“It helped my confidence, but I have a lot of work to do regarding National Trials and then World Championships, also Commonwealth Games, a week later.
“So, I just have to focus on that and ensure that I am doing my part and ensure that whenever I go out there and race that I am doing it the correct way and not panic or do stuff that will affect my racing, so I just have to stay confident and composed and just go out there and do my best.”
In addition to the World Championships, she also confirmed that she will be heading to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games despite the proximity of the two events. Goule-Topping was a bronze medal winner at the last staging in Australia and is hoping for a podium finish once again.
“I am looking forward to Birmingham even though it’s not Gold Coast. Hopefully, the weather is not as bad as when I went for the Diamond League and I am looking forward to going there and get a medal again because that’s the first time I got a medal on the global stage at the Commonwealth Games back in 2018 and I look forward to seeing what is in store for me there this year.”
Goule will be chasing her ninth-straight national title when she faces the starters on Sunday evening.
— Dwayne Richards
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