Handal Roban, despite not reaching the Men’s 800m final at the World Athletics U-20 Championships, last Saturday, at the penultimate day of competition, in Nairobi, Kenya, set a new St. Vincent and the Grenadines all-time record over the distance.
Competing in the first of two semi-finals, Roban finished fifth in 1:48.37, which is the best ever from any Vincentian athlete. He thus eclipsed the 1:48.60, done by Eversley Linley, at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain in 1992.
In addition to the national record, Roban rewrote his own national Under-20 record. In Thursday’s heat at the World Athletics U-20 Championships, Roban had set a new mark of 1:49.41, which earned him a place in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Saturday’s feat by Roban, was the sixth occasion that he was re-establishing the Under-20 record.
Roban is also the holder of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Under-20 1500m record, and has the best times in the 400, 800 and 1500m of the Intermediate Division at the Inter Secondary School Athletics Championships (ISSA). He is also part of the quartet that holds the National Under-20 4 x400m record.
Since bursting on to the scenes in 2018, Roban has copped 800m gold and bronze medals at the Junior Carifta Games. He earned a gold in the Under-17 Division in 2018 and won bronze at the 2019 edition, when he moved up to the Under-20 age group.
In 2019, he took bronze in the 800m at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-18/ Under-23 Championships, staged in Mexico.
And, last month Roban gained a gold medal in the 800m and silver in the 400m, at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Under-18/ Under-20 and Under-23 Championships, held in Costa Rica.