The sprinter from Mississippi State recently earned his spot on the Canadian Olympic team, and he’ll compete in the 400-meter dash in the London Games, which begin July 27. Barnaby is actually from Jamaica, but he moved with his two brothers to Brampton, Ontario, at age 9 to live with his father, then after a couple of years moved in with his mother in Hartford, Conn.
When asked if he felt he was representing both Jamaica and the United States as well as Canada, Barnaby said, “I agree, but I’m also repping State, which is just as important.”
Barnaby’s efforts for MSU helped him make the Olympic team. Because he’s never competed in an Olympics or world championships, Barnaby had to do more to qualify for the team, and he knew running well at the NCAA championships was important.
MSU coach Steve Dudley told the junior to run a personal best there, and he did, clocking a time of 45.67 seconds.
“I wanted to make sure he was under the (qualifying) standard before he went to the Canadian trials,” Dudley said. “It takes a lot of stress off of you if you’ve already got the standard.”
Winning the 400 at the Canadian championships in 46.00 seconds solidified Barnaby’s roster spot. He’ll be the only Canadian runner competing in the 400 in London.
The accomplishment didn’t sink in right away for Barnaby.
“When I got my passport a couple of days ago, my reaction was, I made the team, but I know that I still have a lot of work to do,” he said.
It’s a dream he’s harbored since high school, where he was one of the top sprinters in the country. For Dudley, confirmation of Barnaby’s abilities came when he easily slid into a role on the Bulldogs’ relay teams, which are annually among the best in the nation.
“Any time you make our relay at Mississippi State … you’re always going to be an international-level athlete,” Dudley said. “You’re going to have a chance to make Olympic teams, you’re going to have a chance to make world championship teams. …
“He fit right in pretty much off the bat on our A relays. He was expected to reach this level.”
Next for Barnaby is traveling to London, then training in Germany, then back to London for competition. He’ll be able to show how he stacks up against the world’s best, but Barnaby isn’t thinking in those terms.
“I don’t really worry about other athletes because coach Dudley already told me based on my training I can go really fast in the 400,” he said. “I just have to trust myself and my abilities.”