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Olympic medallist Deon Lendore is proud to have ended the United States National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships with another gold medal to his treasure chest.
The Texas A&M junior clinched victory in the 400-metre in a time of 45.02 at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, in Eugene, Oregon, USA, on June 13.
It was one of the accolades that earned him the men’s National Track Athlete of the Year for Aggie junior when the United States Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association awarded post-season honours earlier this week.
He recalled the final day of NCAA competition in Oregan (on June 13) as cool. Mixed weather patterns filled the week, however. He thought the race would have to be run in rain.
“I just tried to stay focus…stay calm. I was just trying to stay confident. I was going up against the home town favourite Mike Berry. When they were announcing the names, the crowd started going crazy—9,000, 10,000 fans. I just tried to block that out, calm myself. All that was going through my mind was to stay focused. I learnt that from the (London 2012) Olympics. When Great Britain was in the four by four final and they were right behind us. I learnt how to stay calm when I’m under a lot of pressure,” he said.
Lendore competed in 14 races–indoor and outdoor–this season and completed all, undefeated. He scored 14.5 points in the NCAA Championships for the third-place Aggies as he claimed the 400m title in 45.02 seconds, anchored the Aggie 4x400 relay to a school record of 2:59.60, which is the second fastest collegiate time in history, and anchored the 4x100 relay to a runner-up finish in 38.84.
At the Southern Conference Track and Field Championships, in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, Lendore, captured gold in 400m in a time of 44.36 seconds and as a consequence broke the four-and-a-half decade old stadium record. The feat was ranked seventh on the all-time collegiate list.
As anchor for the Aggie’s 4x400 relay team, he scored a school record in the NCAA final. Lendore split 44.10 as A&M just missed the collegiate record of 2:59.59 set in 2005 by LSU. The split by Lendore ranks 12th all-time among 4x400 relays contested in the NCAA final.