'I'M ELATED!
Gleeful Navasky Anderson says 800m bronze start of greater things to come
ANDERSON...it's really tremendous because it was something I was really looking forward to and this is just the stepping stone in the right direction (Photo: Karl Mclarty)

SANTIAGO, Chile — Navasky Anderson describes his bronze medal in the men's 800m final at the Pan American Games on Saturday as the start of great things to come.

Anderson clocked 1:46.40 minutes for bronze, behind Venezuela's José Antonio Maita, who won gold in 1:45.69m, and Mexico's Jesus Lopez, who clocked 1:46.04. It is his first medal representing Jamaica.

"Honestly, I'm quite elated," Anderson told the Jamaica Observer after the race. "It's really tremendous because it was something I was really looking forward to and this is just the stepping stone in the right direction.

"On the senior stage, it's not easy, but I'm glad I was able to pull off the first one, and there's many more to come for Navasky Anderson."

He describes the race as being better than his semi-final performance, where he clocked 1:47.51 to win his heat.

"I gave it all I had and left it all on the track," he said. "I had to set aside how I was feeling, all the fatigue I had. I just came out here today and said, 'Today's the day, I'm going to give my best on the track,' and I'm glad I was able to pull off a medal today for my country."

Anderson says the medal caps a strong end to the year for him as he had to balance training with the completion of his master's degree.

"I'm graduating in December with my master's in science and kinesiology, and I'm looking forward to doing my PhD," he said. "So that's huge for me — that's massive for me.

"While balancing everything on the international scene, I was in classes, training all of last year, during the summer, being in Budapest [at the World Athletics Championships] — all that time I was doing all that work, I had the stress of classes on me.

"My major's really not easy but it was lot to pull off and I must thank my professors at Mississippi State University, and my coaches, and everybody who came to be a part of Navasky Anderson's support system. Everything affects the athlete, not just what you see on the track. Everything affects the performances we give.

"I'm going to pull a surprise. I can't say what yet, but I'm going to do it in the week."

Jamaica also competed in Rugby 7s on the final day of its campaign.

The women's team, the Lady Crocs, lost 19-14 to Mexico in Match 1 of the 5th to 8th place play-off, then 34-5 to Chile, to finish eighth.

The men's team, the Crocs, lost 27-14 to Brazil, then beat Mexico 26-24 to finish seventh.

Anderson's medal is the fourth in athletics for Jamaica, and sixth overall. Jaheel Hyde got Jamaica's only gold, in the men's 400m hurdles, and cyclist Dahlia Palmer, discus throwers Samantha Hall and Fedrick Dacres, and wrestler Aaron Johnson all won bronze.

Jamaica, although through competing, is 21st on the medal table with one more day of competition to go.

BY RACHID PARCHMENT Digital sports coordinator parchmentr@jamaicaobserver.com

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