NATIONAL 110m hurdles champion Ruebin Walters is trying to make it a hat-trick of titles, at the NGC/National Association of Athletics Administrations Open Championships this weekend, but more importantly he is trying to book a spot at the 2019 World Championships.
Walters, who competed at the 2017 World Championships in London, is settling down at home after returning from the University of Alabama.
Yesterday, Newsday caught up with Walters, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, while he was going through his paces ahead of the championships that takes place from Friday to Sunday.
Walters said, “Training has been going good. I came off a small (knee) injury, but I don’t think that will hamper my performance for this weekend. Everything is coming along perfectly.”
The defending champion is aiming for a fast time to qualify for the 2019 World Championships in Doha, but knows winning gold may also be challenging.
“I have some great competitors coming down this weekend (and I) am also still trying to qualify for the World Championships in Doha, although I have qualified for the Pan Am Games in Peru. The team leaves on Monday (for Pan Am), so I am also getting prepared for that.”
Walters knows exactly what he needs to accomplish this weekend to book a spot at the World Championships which takes place from September 27 - October 6. He said, “A time of 13.47 (I need to qualify). I am shy of it by maybe two hundredths of a second, so that will be the goal for this weekend.”
The hurdles champion says the 2020 Olympic Games is also on his radar. “It sounds good. If you look at the point standard right now I am basically four or five spots away from making the Olympic team and I think it is reachable, once I am healthy next year.”
Walters, 24, will be following in the footsteps of his mentor Jehue Gordon if he can compete at a high level at the World Championships.
Former World 400m hurdles champion Gordon encouraged him to start focussing on the event seriously. “Jehue Gordon is one of my role models and mentors. We ran for the same club and he was a hurdler and I used to see him training everyday. One day, I tried it out and it worked perfectly and after that I was a world class hurdler from a junior all the way up to senior ranks.”