Interview with Rondell Bartholomew
Grenada will highlight a strong Caribbean presence at this year’s London Olympics, with not one, but two star runners: Kirani James (see our interview here) and 22-year-old Rondell Bartholomew, both of whom specialize in the 400 metres. Bartholomew, a 400-metre world finalist in 2011, has represented Grenada at two world championships. A native of St Patrick Parish who studies at South Plains College in Texas, Bartholomew is looking to make noise for Grenada in London. To learn more, CJ Sport talked to Bartholomew about London, his training in Texas and his friendship with Kirani.
How is your training going so far?
Training is going great. Everything’s coming along, so I’m just ready to go and get into some competition.
What are you focusing on in your regimen?
Right now, we’re just working on strength and endurance. We’re working on a little bit more speed, trying to clean up the technique a little bit, run faster but do it a lot smoother. So we’re working on speed and endurance.
What’s the biggest challenge in your training leading up to London?
I think it’s just to avoid injuries and try to work as smart as possible — to stay healthy, to try to eat properly and just take care of my body.
How has training at South Plains helped you?
It’s helped me a lot — it’s been great since I’ve been here, everything has been going great. The coach and I get along fine, the weather is nice, and it’s a different envionment to train in — not a lot of people focus on track out here, so it’s easy to stay out of trouble, nobody is trying to be spiteful to you.
Talk about your friendship with Kirani James.
Kirani and I get along great. We go travel together, we speak to each other, we talk to each other as much as possible. We have a great friendship.
Are you competitive with one another?
Yeah — it’s track and field. So at the end of the day, when you step on the track, everybody wants to get first place. There’s only one winner, and second place is just the fastest loser. Everybody wants to win then they step onto the track, but we try to give each other tips on what’s going wrong and right. So it’s competitive on the track.
You’ve been in two World Championships. How will the Olympics be different?
The Olympics is bigger, but there’s not a whole lot of difference in preparation. I just think we’ve got to think about it in the same way, because many of the guys that were at the World Championships will be at the Olympic Games. So it’s about going out there and being mentally ready for it. It’s a bigger stage, also, that has many different sports. So you just got to stay focused on your event and not get sidetracked — stay focused, don’t let the crowd and the adrenaline and all the different people being there affect you — just stay focused.
What does it mean for you to represent Grenada?
It’s a great honour, just to go out there for the Olympic games and represent my country, make them proud, make my family and friends proud, do anything I can to make the country known throughout the world.
Describe your perfect Olympics.
A perfect Olympics for me is going out there and getting a medal, getting to the finals and running my personal best time. I’m trying to win a medal and bring back something for my friends and family and the people, to have somebody to look up to [in Grenada].