By Sherrylyn A. Toppin | Wed, August 01, 2012 - 12:05 AM
LONDON – After being knocked out in the first round of the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, last August, Barbadian sprinter Ramon Gittens left with a greater determination to achieve.
He was fifth in the first heat in 10.42 seconds. Jamaica’s Yohan Blake also lined up in that heat, which he won, and went on to take overall the title after compatriot Usain Bolt famously false-started.
When MIDWEEK SPORT caught up with Gittens recently at the London 2012 Olympic Games, it was a non-training day for him.
He was well bundled up on the rather cold and windy day, but stressed that he wasn’t under the weather.
“I got knocked out in the first round and I took it pretty hard. During the off season, I went back to the drawing board to try to figure out what I could do to get better,” Gittens said.
“I did what I was supposed to do in terms of weights and technique. So far, it has been going well.”
After working on his technique, Gittens ran at the Aggie Classic in North Carolina back in May and did the Olympic “B” qualifying time of 10.21 seconds, just off his personal best of 10.18.
Then he disappeared and there was little evidence of that form when he returned to Barbados in June and clocked 10.32 seconds to win the National Championships.
The time was pedestrian in a world of constant sub-10s and there were even calls not to take him to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“. . . I got hurt two weeks before Nationals,” Gittens said. “So even though I came home and I was able to win trials, I wasn’t training. I was just doing strides and trying to get past the injury.
“I knew for a fact that I was in good shape, in good grazing, that I could come home and do that with the little bit of work I did.”
After Nationals, he went back to the United States and began working again with coach Patrick Jarrett.
“I can honestly say I feel ready. Where I am is not where I was before,” he said. “Mentally, I am very prepared. There are no obstacles in my way. My coach always says if you have no control over it, don’t worry about.
“Physically, I know every part of my race. I can focus on me. I know what I am supposed to do.
“I am physically ready, I am mentally ready. It is just for me to go out and execute on the day because that is the main focus.”
But even with the tough talk, Gittens knows he has a formidable task ahead of him.
Yes, he wants to break Obadele Thompson’s national record of 9.87 seconds and he would love to go sub-10 this season, but that is not the main focus right now.
“I am just focusing round by round, getting past the first round and from there taking it to the next level. Get past the second round and in the finals see what happens from there,” the 25-year-old said.
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