Barbadian quarter miler Anderson Devonish has qualified for the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene Oregon to compete in the 400-meter dash.
On Saturday Devonish ran a personal best of 45.97 seconds to place second in his heat to 400M Indoor World record-holder Michael Norman in the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field West Preliminary Round.
The runners-up finish meant that Devonish secured an automatic qualifying spot to the Championships slated for between June 6-9.
It means the 24-year-old Illinois State Red Birds senior now becomes the first Redbird to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Games since 2016 when Ryan Rutherford did the same feat.
It will be only his second appearance on a national stage after he competed in the same 400m event back in 2015 at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Also representing Barbados at the meet will be Lisa Ann Barrow and former CARIFTA gold medallist and Harrison College sprinter Mario Burke.
However speaking to Barbados TODAY during a telephone interview, Devonish said his achievement in reaching the semi-final was a dream come through.
“I am truly happy about it. It is something every athlete on the collegiate circuit aims for at the beginning of every year. This is what we train for, it is really the climax of being a college athlete.
“This is huge for me personally because as a 400m runner you want to put up decent times and Barbados hasn’t really had quarter milers running 46 for some time now. So for me to fully get under 46 it means there is a lot more in the tank for me.
“My goal is to break the national record. Words can’t describe how much it means to be in this moment right now,” he said.
Devonish, a former Lodge School student, added that his qualification came as no surprise judging from the hard work he would have put in on the training track.
“I basically was training all year round, I never really took a rest. We started pre-season in August and then you wait for the first meet. From there it is all about trying to get times down and races under your belt. I had to figure out the landscape of the season, so I would know what times are needed to win at conference to get to indoor and outdoor nationals.”
He added: “The most important thing for me going into the race would have been to attack at 200. This is only my fourth 400 for the year so I had a little issue of being race ready but still, it was good enough, I made sure I stayed focus.
“In terms of the race coming up, it is going to be open territory for the spots. If I want to make it to the final I have to break the national record and go 45. I have been gearing my mind towards that in terms of execution.”
Devonish told Barbados TODAY he was aiming to land a professional contract and was not ruling out the opportunity to represent Barbados in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
“For track, I am hoping next week that I have a good enough meet to offer me a contract professionally. Two years from now is an Olympic year. Making an Olympic team is something I always wanted to achieve, at least to get to the semi-finals it is something I dreamt about for a long time.”
Devonish is encouraging young Barbadian athletes to focus on academics if they want to pursue Track and Field abroad.
“The biggest thing is school work. You have to make sure that your grades are good because that is the first thing universities look at. They can make you into a top athlete but you have to do good in your schoolwork as well,” he said.