Deon Lendore will try to turn silver into gold at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Outdoor Track & Field Championships, in Eugene, Oregon, USA, this week.
At the 2013 Championships, Lendore finished second in the men’s 400 metres final in 44.94 seconds. The Texas A&M University athlete is hoping to go one better in Friday’s one-lap final. But first he must negotiate today’s qualifying round.
Lendore has been drawn in heat four in the first of three heats. Two lanes to his right, in six, will be another Trinidad and Tobago/Texas A&M athlete, Carlyle Roudette.
Lendore is the favourite for gold thanks to the 44.36 seconds personal best he produced to win the Southeastern Conference (SEC) title, in Kentucky, on May 18. The 21-year-old quartermiler is third on the 2014 world performance list, behind Grenada’s reigning Olympic champion Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, the 2013 World Championship gold medallist.
Both James and Merritt clocked 43.97 seconds at the Prefontaine Classic IAAF Golden League meet, in Oregon, on May 31. It was James, though, who struck gold, getting to the line just ahead of Merritt.
T&T will have two representatives in the NCAA Championship men’s 110m hurdles—defending champion Wayne Davis II, of Texas A&M, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee senior Durell Busby. They have both been drawn in heat one for tomorrow’s qualifying round.
T&T/Texas A&M athlete, Janeil Bellille will run in heat three in today’s women’s 400m hurdles.
In the women’s 100m hurdles, tomorrow, North Dakota State University’s Deborah John will be on show in heat two.
And Pennsylvania State University’s Steve Waithe will bid for honours in Saturday’s men’s triple jump.
Lendore, Roudette, Bellille and Louisiana State University (LSU) sprinter Shermund Allsop are all expected to see relay action at the NCAA Championships. Lendore is likely to compete in the men’s 4x100m and 4x400m events, Roudette in the men’s 4x400m, Bellille in the women’s 4x400m, and Allsop in the men’s 4x100m.