Gonzales will perform at high level - Cameron
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Three surgeries in two years; one a procedure to remove a non-cancerous tumour to the knee begs the question - is Jermaine Gonzales' career over?
Not according to his coach, Bertland Cameron, who has seen enough over the last few months to convince him that the national 400 metres record holder at 44.40 seconds, is ready to shake off his injury issues and return to a high level of competition.
Gonzales has not competed since August 2012, when he failed to complete his leg in the 4x400m relay final at the London Olympics because of injury. However, the return of the soon-to-be 30-year-old athlete is a big reason why Cameron is looking towards the coming season with much excitement and hope for his fledgling Cameron Blazers Track Club.
The athlete remains only one of two Jamaicans to have gone below 45 seconds in the one-lap event since 2010, along with Dane Hyatt, who posted 44.83 in 2012.
In addition to Gonzales' return, Cameron has also welcomed back Javere Bell, who had a hip injury at last year's World Championships, while Bobby-Gay Wilkins and sprinter Sheldon Mitchell have also joined the group.
"Jermaine Gonzales is back in training; health-wise he is 100 per cent and he is now going through the regular background training with the rest of athletes," said Cameron. "He is not coming back this year uncertain about where he is and what he wants to accomplish, he is coming back with confidence and assured that he is healthy and ready to compete with the guys.
"The last surgery wasn't an athletic injury, it was a tumour on a bone beside the knee and he had to stop to cut that out; that was a life-or-death thing for him and he had to get that done," said Cameron.
"He had three surgeries actually, because he had to do that twice. When they did it the first time, they didn't go deep enough to remove the tumour, so when he started to train he had difficulties running. He had to go through a long rehab process, but after completing that he came back into training last season and trained very well," added Cameron, who noted that the athlete ran a 63-second 500m race in training at the back-end of last season.
"Based on what I saw last year towards the end of the season with his workouts, I have no doubt that he will come back and perform at a high level," Cameron said confidently. "He is right where he is supposed to be right now, it's about getting him ready and moving him forward."
Meanwhile, for one-time Swept Track Club man Mitchell, who last season recorded personal bests in the 60m (6.65), 200m (20.14) and 400m (47.15), the opportunity to work with Cameron will help him to make the transition to the quarter-mile for the coming season.
"One of the reasons why Sheldon (Mitchell) is with us is because we spoke, and he said he wanted to run the 400m and wanted to work with me. It was already too late, so we kept him running the 100m and 200m," said Cameron of the 10.11 seconds sprinter. "We are focusing more with him on the quarter-mile level, his mind is set to run the 400m and that's where we are at right now."
Other notable members of Cameron Blazers include 400m hurdler Josef Robertson and 400m athlete Chumaine Fitten.