André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Bertland 'Bert' Cameron, the man who has been guiding the career of national 400m record holder Jermaine Gonzales for the past two years, has resigned as senior 400m coach at the Racers Track Club, ending a two-year association with the University of West Indies-based club.
Cameron told The Gleaner yesterday through an exclusive email that he was exploring other options, but did not give any reasons for his decision.
The coach made it clear, however, that he was not walking away from his craft and that he will be continuing his own quest of recruiting, mentoring and conditioning professional athletes.
not ready to comment
When contacted yesterday, Racers Track Club president and head coach, Glen Mills, confirmed that he was handed a resignation letter from Cameron on Tuesday evening, but that he was not ready to comment on the matter.
"It's time to begin a new chapter of my life," Cameron said in his message, which was first carried on www.jamaica-gleaner.com, before going on to describe his time at Racers as a memorable experience.
"My time spent with Racers Track Club was memorable, myself and head coach Glen Mills had an exceptional working relationship, as we both share a passion for excellence and a common purpose - the desire for Jamaican athletes to excel on the world stage."
The development has, however, raised certain questions about the future of Gonzales who, like Cameron, came under immense pressure from the Jamaican public after the athlete was allowed to run on the 4x400m relay team in the heats at the London Olympic Games, despite what appeared to be an injury problem that had also prevented him from qualifying beyond the heats of the flat 400m a few days earlier.
A source close to Gonzales shared that Cameron and the athlete were expected to meet and discuss the matter between yesterday evening and this morning.
In his statement, Cameron, who also won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and Central America and Caribbean Games during his illustrious career as an athlete, pointed out that he hopes the announcement will put to rest the rumours surrounding his departure from the club.
Cameron began his coaching career at Northern Arizona University in 1992 before returning to Jamaica to take up the post of head coach of the boys' programme at his alma mater, St Jago High School, in 1995. Under his coaching, St Jago maintained a top-four position in the Boys and Girls' Championships.
In 2003, Cameron became the head coach of Wolmer's Boys' School, maintaining a constant top-four position until he left in 2009.
He then teamed up with Mills at Racers a year later, taking over the conditioning of Gonzales and helping him to the national record and his personal best of 44.40 within months.
As one of the 400m coaches at Racers, Cameron was responsible for seven athletes, four of whom qualified for the 2012 Olympics. The four are Gonzales, Edino Steele, Rosemarie Whyte and Shereefa Lloyd.