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'Gonz' believes Jamaica could win Olympic 4x4 gold with Bolt

Published:Thursday | October 6, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Triple world record holder Usain Bolt (left) is congratulated by his friend Jermaine Gonzales, after Bolt set a meet record of 19.56 seconds in the men's 200m during the JN/Jamaica International Invitational meet at the National Stadium. Gonzales also did well at the meet, clocking 45.22 in the men's 400m behind American Tyson Gay (45.05). - Anthony Minott/Freelance Photographer

Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer

World Championships 4x400m bronze medallist Jermaine Gonzales is looking to convince Racers Track Club running mate and World and Olympic 200m champion Usain Bolt to run a leg on the 1600-metre relay team at the 2012 London Olympics.

Bolt, who has a personal best (PB) 45.28 over the distance, a mark established in 2007, has repeatedly expressed his dislike for the 400m event, but Gonzales believes the 100m and 200m world record holder can improve Jamaica's chances of claiming Olympic victory in the event.

"Usain really doesn't like the 400m, and being around him and listening to his thoughts on the 400m, it is something that he is not willing to do," Gonzales disclosed in an exclusive interview with The Gleaner on Monday, while attending the launch of the NCB Visa Classic Bell-Ziadie Memorial Celebrity Charity Football Matches, at Cuddy'z Bar & Grill in New Kingston.

"He loves the 4x4 and I wish he would give us a leg at the Olympics so we can challenge the Americans."

Gonzales added: "Usain (Bolt) can run the 400m, and if he decides to do it one day he will run fast times."

The lanky sprinter is already used to running fast times, setting world records in the 100 and 200 metres. In recent times, though, he has been rivalled by fellow clubmate Yohan Blake, who went on to win the World Championships 100 metres gold medal after defending champion Bolt false-started in the final.

Blake later threatened Bolt's 200 world mark, running 19.26 seconds for the second-fastest time over the diatance ever, next to his teammate's 19.19.

Asked if the impending rivalry could cause an issue in the Glen Mills Racers camp, Gonzales does not think so.

"We are a family at Racers and we support each other, so everybody has high praises for Yohan (Blake)," Gonzales said. "He is really a hard worker, somebody who is really dedicated to his training and we are all happy for him."

"The rivalry between him (Blake) and Bolt is just going to make the sport more exciting, and as Usain (Bolt) said in his interviews, they are very good friends and it doesn't change anything."

The 26-year-old Gonzales, whose career has been plagued by injuries since bursting on the scene in 2002 at the World Junior Championships in Kingston, had a mixed 2010 season.

In July he established a new 400m national record and PB time of 44.40 seconds but failed to medal at the World Championships. He placed fourth in 44.99 seconds behind 19-year-old Grenadian sensation Kirani James (44.60).

"I went in there (World Championships) not fully prepared for the race and I was able to finish fourth and got a medal in the 4x4, so I couldn't ask for much more, and I have to give God thanks," Gonzales stated.

"Hopefully, this season, with me being healthy and getting my full training, it will be better at the Olympics," he added.

Gonzales is, however, cognisant of the threat poised by James, but is already strategising how to get the better of him.

"He (James) is pretty young and he is still learning the sport, so with that talent at this age it is a threat, and I will definitely have to watch his races and try to beat him at his weakness," Gonzales disclosed.

"I think he is not aggressive over the first 300m, so that is a strategy that I might have to use against him and try and get away from him early, because he is very strong in the end," he added.