After running a personal best of 1:45.89 to claim the South Eastern Conference (SEC) title at the conference championships at the University of Missouri on Saturday, Mississippi State’s Navasky Anderson said he is just getting started on his way to becoming the best ever 800m runner from Jamaica.

The time, the 14th fastest in the world this year is the fastest by a Jamaican and is just over half a second shy of Seymour Newman’s national record of 1:45.21 set back in 1977.

The former St Jago athlete held off Sam Whitmarsh of Texas A&M and Georgia’s Claymore Pender, who each ran personal best times of 1:46.09 and 1:46.71 for second and third, respectively in the race where the top-six all produced lifetime best performances.

However, for Anderson, a junior at Mississippi State, this is where his quest to go beyond Newman’s 45-year-old record begins.

“My job here is just now getting started,” he told Sportsmax.TV on Sunday.

“My goal is not only to be the best 800m that passes through Jamaica but also to bring the awareness and the spotlight to the younger generation letting them know that we can be dominant in the 800m as well.

“I will stay humble and work, my times will speak for themselves in due time.”

The 21-year-old Anderson has had to put in the work over the past few years to get to this point where he is within touching distance of the long-standing national record that only a few other Jamaicans like Clive Terrelonge (1:45.44), Mario Watson (1:45.58) and Alex Morgan (1:45.58) have got close to.

“To be great in the 800m there has to be a constant shift in mechanism, being able to run a fast 400m or 200m repeats today and being to hit a steady 10 miles the next morning,” said Anderson who stands at a wiry 1.93m (6’ 4”).

“Not everyone has the same body type or is built the way I am. I stay fit with morning runs and coordinate with my strength coach to get workouts that are going to help me move forward at least two to three times weekly.”

The journey to this point has been difficult but he has never given up hope nor lost sight of his goals as an athlete even when things were not going according to plan while he was at St Jago.

“I started high school running the 400m and the 1500m, taking on the 1500m at champs for my first two years. I made the finals both years but it was constant downhill after that,” he said, explaining that he believes “It was just not my time. I was training to the best of my ability but I wasn’t able to compete at a high level at Champs.”

Notwithstanding those early disappointments, Anderson never gave up and his fortunes began to change when he moved on to Essex County College in the United States.

“I stayed motivated and worked with Coach Andrew Kidd, who helped me develop a strong endurance background. I then went to Coach Lionel Leech at Essex County College. From 1:57-mid, coach got me down to 1:52-low is less than two years,” he said.

“I then made a great decision to attend Mississippi State, the right 800m university where Coach Chris Woods worked tirelessly to get my time down from 1:52 to 1:45 and still in progress in less than two years. That is spectacular.”

He said he has no plans to rest on his ‘spectacular’ progress with his goal now clearly in sight.

“I’ll keep working and I’ll keep working,” he concluded.

 

 

 

 

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