Dage Minors said he proved he belonged on the big stage after exceeding his expectations in the 1,500 metres final at the Pan American Games yesterday.
Minors, who was seeded in last place for the final, was more than satisfied with his eleventh-place finish in a time of 3min 48.85sec — just six hundredths of a second off his personal best.
The 23-year-old felt he had “nothing to lose” before his first appearance at a major international event and believed his race tactics were spot on.
“This is a big deal,” Minors said. “I’m just walking out there and thinking, ‘Man, I’m right here. No one can take this away from me’.
“I knew I was going to gain a lot from this meet and I did gain a lot. I’m pleased with my tactics and I came here wanting to prove that I belong here.
“I held my own out there for 1,300 of a 1,500 metres race against some world-class athletes. This race was fast from the start.”
Minors said that competing in front of a large crowd at the Athletics Stadium at the Videna Sports Complex has whetted his appetite for more major competitions.
“This is one of best facilities I ever seen,” said Minors, who became the first Bermudian to win the elite men’s race in the Front Street Mile last year.
“It’s a top-class facility. I wish the weather was a little better, though. I think I would have run a lot faster.
“I’ve proven I can hang here, so why not shoot for the Commonwealth Games [in Birmingham, England, in 2022].
“Why not come back to the Pan Am Games [in Santiago, Chile] in four years. If I didn’t, I’d be selling myself short. Now I’ve got my feet wet, it’s just going to push me even more.”
Jose Villarreal, of Mexico, won the 1,500 final in 3:39.93, with John Gregorek, of the United States, coming second in 3:40.42 and William Paulson, of Canada, finishing third in 3:41.15.
Minors returns to the track today for the 800 metres semi-finals. “It is the same situation as today,” he added. “I’ve got nothing to lose and I’m just hoping finish off the season well.”