Clawing his way back into the fold

Clawing his way back into the fold

Costa Rican Nery Brenes is burning up the track with a heavy training schedule as he seeks a third gold medal in 10 months when he competes at the London Olympics.

Against all odds, Costa Rica’s Nery Brenes has his eyes set on the 400M gold in the Olympics. AP

The 400 metres runner followed his title triumph at the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara in October with victory in the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March, setting a national and championship record.

The 26-year-old's rise, a rags to riches story, has been years in the making and followed career low points when he was abandoned by sponsors and supporters after an injury. “In 2008, I had a very good year, the best of my career,” Brenes said. “In 2009 I injured myself exactly one week before participating in the world (championships) in Berlin and all my sponsors left me, it was an act of backstabbing.

“I had to keep on working and it was because of the few people that believed in me,” said Brenes, who grew up in the impoverished port city of Limon on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast.

Having reached the 400 semifinals at the 2008 Beijing Games, he is now in top condition and poised for a second shot at Olympic fame. But the modest Brenes, whose personal best of 44.65 seconds is 0.9 seconds slower that American LaShawn Merritt's winning time in Beijing, stopped short of predicting victory at the July 27-Aug 12 Games in London.

“The clearest thing is to run the track the best way, conserving energy until the end, this is the most important thing,” Brenes said. “We don't want to promise something that is not realistic because this falls on the critics among us. Run the track and prepare for a possible final.”

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