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Handal Roban running with SVG on his back

Handal Roban running with SVG on his back
VINCENTIAN MIDDLE distance athlete, Handal Roban

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VINCENTIAN MIDDLE distance athlete, Handal Roban, while pursuing his personal ambitions wants to make a name for St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG),for the world to know.

Roban, who turns 20 in September is regarded as SVG’s best prospects for stardom.

He is currently, the country’s all time 800m record holder, a feat achieved at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, last August.

A former student of the Pamelus Burke Primary School; the Georgetown Secondary and the St Vincent Grammar School, Roban went off to Jamaica College in 2019 to complete his schooling whilst building his fledging track and field career.

It was the Jamaica experience which he deemed as the turning pages in his relatively short exposure into a higher level. Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT last Saturday while on a short trip home Roban told of his inner tenacity for his upward trajectory.

“ In Jamaica it is tough it is the top Caribbean country in terms of Track and Field so if you are not mentally prepared or hungry for success, you are going to be lost.”

Roban said he has seen many athletes unable to cope with the pressures of studying and training in Jamaica, and had to return to their countries of origin because “ they were not mentally prepared”.

Acknowledging that he is carving out a space for others, Roban reasoned that, “ As a Vincentian athlete we are a small country, a lot of people did not know about us but they are starting to know about us.

“…What I am doing, along with the other guys in Jamaica is setting the pathway for others to follow”.

He sees the realization of the synthetic track at Diamond as part of the development of Track and Field here in SVG. “As you can see we have a track now… In 2018 when I started we did not have a track and as time progressed, which makes it pretty good for athletes based here at home”, Roban stated.

Roban, whose first love was Cricket, having captained SVG at the Under- 15 level, burst on the regional Track and Field stage in 2018, copping gold in the Under-17 Male 800m and followed up with a bronze one year later when he moved up to the Under-20 age group.

Happy with his progression, Roban eyes representing St Vincent and the Grenadines at some major championships such as the Commonwealth Games , World Games as well as the Olympics.

However, he also desires to make good of a scholarship that he will be pursuing later this year in the USA, and excel in Track.

“I will be going off to Penn State University where I will be studying Psychology then focus on Sports Psychology”, Roban revealed.

Apart from his academic ambitions, Roban while not putting a time frame on it, would like to turn professional which he thinks would be beneficial to others.

“I would like to turn pro of course, and I would love for St Vincent and the Grenadines to get a sponsor so that the people coming up would have an easier way because going to track meets and not having a sponsor is not easy”, Roban outlined to SEARCHLIGHT.

Ultimately, Roban wants to medal at an international meet, adding to those gained at the junior level.

Apart from his two Junior Carifta Games medals, Roban in 2019, pouched a bronze at the NACAC Under-18/ Under-23 championships in Mexico and last year gained a gold in the 800m and silver in the 400m, at the NACAC Under-18/Under-20/Under- 23 championships in Costa Rica.

Last month, Roban ran the fastest ever split time in the High School Boys category of 4 x800m, in the 126 -year history of the Penn Relays, clocking 1:48.12 on the second leg for his Jamaica College team. Roban was rewarded the accolade of High School Boys Most Outstanding Athlete.