Tue | Jul 17, 2018

Gonz still fighting

Published:Monday | June 27, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The 2011 World Championships 400 metres finalist, Jermaine Gonzales, is looking forward to this week's National Championships. However, after a five-year fight with injury, he isn't targeting a berth on Jamaica's 2016 Olympic team specifically. Instead, the 31-year-old veteran of two Olympic Games just wants to finish the Nationals in good health and with a good time.

Affable as ever, the tall 2006 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist confessed: "I must say it's been difficult and lots of if and but in the mind, but I was able to sort out a bit of that." That was a reference to repeated knee surgery and the long journey to recovery that the Cameron Blazers track club member has endured.

"I took some time off and I got back to basics and did some stuff that I normally do and I'm looking forward to the Trials," he revealed.

Last year, the 2004 and 2012 Olympian stopped early in his National Championships 400 metres heat. By contrast, he passed a key fitness milestone at the Gibson-McCook Relays earlier this year with two 400 metres relay legs in one day. Gonzales is understandably very grateful to be fit again.

"I've haven't run for a while and just to be back on the track, competing again ... doing something I love so much, it's a blessing," he said.

Gonzales, who turns 32 in November, is being very patient. "I'm not putting any target on myself for the Nationals," he said at training last Friday. "I just want to finish healthy, get a good time and take it from there."

His personal best is 44.40 seconds, which was a national record when it was set in 2010. Despite knee surgery at the end of that season, he was a close fourth in the 2011 World Championships and stormed through a 44.2 seconds relay run to help Jamaica to third place in the 4x400 metres. Sadly injuries hampered him at the 2012 Olympics as he was eliminated in the first round of the 400 and stopped on his leg of the 4x400 preliminary round.

- H.L.