Most Jamaicans were unaware of the athlete named Navasky Anderson until he broke the national 800m record previously held by Seymour Newman for 45 years when he finished second at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the United States a few weeks ago in 1:45.02.
However, when he reported for the Men’s 800m first round at the National Championships in Kingston last Thursday, all eyes were on Anderson as fans got a good look at what he had to offer.
He eased through the race, winning comfortably and set the stage for a big run in the final on Sunday.
But rain put a damper on the final of the 800m as the athletes ran in heavy rain which hampered their ability to perform at their best. However, for Anderson, there was no doubting whether or not he would win the race as he clocked 1:48.53 to claim his first national title.
Brimming with confidence ever since his great performance at the NCAA Championships, the Mississippi State athlete says that he had no doubt about how the race would go, even before he got to Jamaica.
“My theme for this championship season is just ‘confidence’, being confident. I came here pretty confident, so I knew I was going to win, so I just have to keep the same mentality going forward to the World Championships,” he said.
And for Anderson his performances in the 800m are more than just about winning, but also about providing hope.
“I am the people’s champion,” he declared. “I am here to revive the 800m, so I am just going to continue doing good, continue being great and just hope that Jamaica will continue to support me on my dream.”
The 22-year-old wants to see more athletes taking on the mile race, instead of focusing only on the traditional shorter running events
“I think we need to get out of our comfort zone. We are used to running 100m, 200m and 400m. We have to dig for whatever is underneath and do whatever it takes to get into the 800m,” he argued.
Anderson explained that he had pursued the event early in his career before stepping up to longer distances and then switched again, back to his favourite event.
“It was something that I dreamed of. I always loved the 800m when I was smaller and I was running the 800m.
“I just thought that this was one aspect that Jamaica wasn’t dominant in and then I thought it was a great opportunity for me to get myself out there, put myself out there and just bring some spotlight towards the 800m,” he noted.
When asked if it was his intention to be the change and bring back the glory days of Arthur Wint, Anderson was in no doubt about his role.
“That’s definitely what I am doing!” he stated emphatically.
Anderson had already qualified for the World Championships even before he got the National Championships in Jamacia, as he achieved the qualification standard with his time at the NCAA Championships.
— Dwayne Richards