'Jermaine was not injured'
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Cameron defends Gonzales' 4x4 selection
Bertland Cameron, coach of national 400m record holder, Jermaine Gonzales, remains adamant that the athlete was not injured prior to the heats of the men's 4x400m relay at the Olympic Games in London, England.
Jamaica's quartet of Dane Hyatt, Riker Hylton, Errol Nolan and Gonzales failed to finish the race after the latter pulled up after running a less than 100m on the third leg.
"Jermaine was not injured," Cameron, a member of the Jamaica coaching staff at the Olympic Games and Gonzales' personal coach at Racers Track Club, told The Gleaner in an interview at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday.
"You never know what is going to happen when you go out there to run, because sometimes you feel good and get hurt, but I believe that as a coach you're never going to put an athlete who is hurt out there to run and you have other people to run."
The coach did, however, acknowledge that Gonzales was injured recently, but pointed out that they were convinced he had fully recovered and was in better shape than Jamaica's other 400 runners.
"He was injured about three weeks ago in Madrid. He went to the doctor and came back very sound, was training well, but it was a little bit too late. He went out and did 46.2 for his first race, which showed that he was ready," Cameron said, pointing to Gonzales' 400m heat.
Referring to his relay leg, Cameron added: "Coming back out for his second race, it didn't happen.
"The 400m is a race that you have to be ready for, and you have to be 100 per cent to run as fast as you would want to run, but this just didn't happen for us this year at the Olympics." Cameron said.
Jamaica's 400m men had a disappointing showing at the Olympics, as they failed to progress beyond their respective semi-finals.
"None of our athletes broke 45 seconds; it's just that circumstances at this meet did not allow us. Dane Hyatt ran 44.8 at the national trials, but he was running from lane nine, and I think he was a little inexperienced," said Cameron, who reiterated his claim that they made the best relay selection.
"The other 400m guys trained hard and they trained well, but when the time came to select the relay team, we selected the best four." Cameron said.
Also arriving yesterday were the team's head coach Maurice Wilson, 400m hurdler Nickeisha Wilson, discus thrower Traves Smikle and sprinter Asafa Powell, the former men's 100m world record holder.