Get stronger, Hoilette urges young 400m men
Olympian Rupert Hoilette has two words of advice for the emerging group of speedy 400 metres runners. Hoilette, a star 440 yard runner for Kingston College in the 1960s, believes the runners of today need to be stronger in the abdominal and low back area. In addition, he advised them to do over-distance work.
Those measures will help to repeat their fine performances in championships, he recommends.
Speaking last week at an event where he was honoured alongside 1948 Olympic 100 metre finalist Cynthia Thompson and sports administrator Freddie Green, the 71-year-old Hoilette praised the young men who have been speeding in the 400m this season.
"A good crop of youngsters," was how he described the likes of newly crowned Jamaican champions Nathon Allen, Demish Gaye of the GC Foster College, Allen's Auburn University colleague Akeem Bloomfield and Steven Gayle, all of whom have broken 45 seconds this year.
"But we have a problem," he continued, "maybe it's the core, weak cores that are unable to run a series at a meet."
"I see it changing with Nathon Allen," he noted, "but I can't say that for Bloomfield because he broke down." After lowering his personal best to 44.74 seconds, Bloomfield finished lower down the final standings at the NCAA Championships than expected and was unable to run his semi-final at the recent National Senior Championships.
He reckons the weakness prevents repeated fast running and believes it has hampered other 400m runners in recent times. The three-time Boys' Championship 440 yards champion added, "they need to do strength work, they need to run over distance more than quarters and below".
That formula helped Hoilette when he was a star schoolboy. Though he was a specialist in the 440 yards and 400m, he also ran the 880 yards and placed second in the 1963 championships. In addition to winning the Class One 440 yards in 1963, 1964 and 1965, Hoilette was British West Indies 400m champion in 1964 and silver medallist at the 1966 CAC Games.