GONZALES, smashed the Jamaican national 400m record in 2010.
Gonzales is one to watch, says Wariner
BY DANIA BOGLE
Sunday, November 28, 2010
FORMER world and Olympic 400-metre champion, American Jeremy Wariner, said he will be working to ensure he stays ahead of Jamaican national record-holder Jermaine Gonzales next season.
Gonzales has so far had the best season of his adult career. He opened his season with a 46.71 seconds at the Camperdown Classic in February and steadily lowered his times from 45.22 at the Jamaica International Invitational in May, to 44.72 in Lausanne on July 8, and 44.63 in Paris-St Denis on July 16.
He capped a fine season by smashing Roxbert Martin's 13-year-old national record on July 22 at the IAAF Monaco Diamond League meeting, where he stopped the clock at 44.40 seconds to erase the 44.89 mark previously set by Martin.
Speaking to the Sunday Observer during last weekend's World Athletics Gala in Monaco, Wariner recalled seeing Gonzales as a teenager winning bronze at the 2002 IAAF World Junior Championships in Kingston.
"I've seen him (Gonzales) mature throughout the years," Wariner said. "He has, unfortunately, been injured a lot through his career and last year he was finally able to stay healthy and move up and start running consistently and anyone who runs consistent 44 like he was doing last season is a competitor."
Gonzales was consistently a step behind Wariner this season, finishing second to his US rival at the meet in Paris, which the latter won in 44.49.
Wariner beat Gonzales into second place at the Diamond League event in London and Zurich, while the Jamaican was third to Wariner in Lausanne and did not finish at the Golden Gala in Rome, where Wariner won in 44.73 seconds.
However, this has not stopped the 2005 and 2007 World 400m champion from sitting up and taking notice.
"He's (Gonzales) going to come out there and give it all he has," Wariner said.
"Last year... he showed it every time he stepped on the track. He ran his hardest and was pretty much done at the end of the race and people like that is great for me because it makes me train even harder at practise... knowing that I have to step my game up to make sure I stay ahead of him," he added.
Between them, Wariner and Gonzales have eight of the 11 fastest 400-metres clockings for 2010.
Wariner ended his season on a high, stopping the clock in a world-leading 44.13 seconds at the Diamond League meet in Zurich in August, and while he expressed disappointment at not running below the 44second mark, said that gives him something to look forward to in 2011.
"I want to go out there and make sure I get my strength in early in the season and I'm slowly getting my strength back early, so that's going to help come March, April, when I start running.
"After that, my first objective is to go to the US Championships and make the team and after that go to the World Championships and reclaim the number one in the world and hopefully get back to the 43s at least twice next season," the Texan added.