By Anthony Foster in Puerto Rico
Former World and Olympic Games champion Jeremy Wariner intends to run his way back to the top.
The 31-year-old Wariner is here in Ponce, Puerto Rico for Saturday’s (May 23) Ponce Grand Prix Meeting, which he says will be used to set himself up for big things this season.
TrackAlerts.Com, the leading Caribbean track and field website, caught up with three-time Olympic Games gold medalist, who has been plagued with injuries in the last three years, at the Press Conference on Friday (22 May).
“Right now I am more focused on improving my race and my time. I want to get down to the 44s, but I am not in a rush, I just want to set myself up for US trials and be in a good position to be able to make the team,” said, the 2008 Olympic Games 400m chapion.
Asked if he thought he will be ready to make the US team, especially since he is on the come back from injuries, he responded, “oh definitely, World Relays was a good confidence boost for me.”
At World Relays, Wariner was impressive in both the prelims and final for Team USA, which won the 4x400m title for the second straight year.
“I was able to slowly get my times back down, those were my first 44s in anything in a couple of years, so it’s good to get that feeling back, I am just looking forward to tomorrow (Ponce Grand Prix) to be able to improve my time from my first race of the year,” added Wariner, whose lone 400m this year is 45.59 in April.
Wariner and fellow American Merritt, the World Champion, Dom Rep’s Luguelin Santos, the 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist, and Trinidad & Tobago’s Machel Cedenio, the World Junior Champion and second fastest man this year at 44.36, will face-off in a super men’s 400m dash.
Wariner whose personal best is 43.45 has struggled since 2010, which saw him dropping six times under 44.73, with 44.13, being the fastest.
In 2011 he ran a season best 44.88, 2012 was 44.96, 2013 45.35 and 2014 46.01.
So the question was put to him, what makes you want to come back after three years of slow times for your standard.
“Just to show that the last few years were because of injuries, not because I’m getting old or I’m not fast (as) I was before, people doubt you whenever you get hurt, they always say ‘you done, you need to go retire’, but I know for me the reason why I was not running good was because of injuries,” he said.
“This year I am real focused on getting back, working hard on the track, working hard in the weight room and take care of my body,” continued the 2005 and 2007 World 400m champion.
The next question for Wariner was, if he thought that he can get back to 44s and 43s. He responded, … “Yeah definitely, that’s my goal. This year is just to get my times back down set myself up to make the world team, go to worlds and run well and then position myself for a good season next year for the Olympics.”
Based on his answers, he was then asked if he was of the view that, he still had it in him, to get World and Olympic Games medals, nor even gold medals? “Oh, always, always, that’s never going to go away.”
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you been through, you still want to run well, you still want to go out there and compete as hard as you can and win medals,” added the man with five World titles.
“That’s what our sport is about, winning and being on top, so I just want to work hard and put myself in a good position for Worlds, fight for that number one.”