André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Noted 400m coach and 1983 World champion, Bertland 'Bert' Cameron, is hoping that he can have a real impact in improving Jamaica's quarter-mile status on the international stage through his newly formed Cameron Blazers Track Club.
Cameron, who left Racers Track Club last year with the view of pursuing his dream to start a 400m-focused club of his own, is currently conditioning eight athletes, including national 400m record holder Jermaine Gonzales, Olympians Josef Robertson and Shereefa Lloyd, as well as Marvin Anderson and the promising Javere Bell.
"It's good when you have to make decisions and you are accountable for certain things. You understand that you are trying to get things right," said Cameron, who oversaw the 400m programme at Racers Track Club for two years.
shooting for the stars
"The athletes that I am working with, they understand their goals and they understand mine and every day is like a learning process because they are shooting for something."
Cameron, a member of Jamaica's silver-medal winning 4x400m team at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, says he is hoping to condition Jamaica's first 400m Olympic gold medallist since George Rhoden in 1952.
In fact, Cameron was actually Jamaica's last 400m gold medallist on the World stage, but he is determined to create another podium topper from among his ranks.
"My goal for this club is not a short-term one, it's long-term. As an old athlete, I always wanted to win an Olympic gold medal in the 400m and for me, it never materialised, so my goal for this club is that one day, one of these quarter-milers that I am working with will win an Olympic gold medal," Cameron said.
"You have to start from scratch and that is basically what I am doing right now. There are quite a few promising athletes here and I don't just coach them, I talk to them about history, about everything, including my own downfall. I try to teach them things that in my time, I, as a young man, did not really take seriously and they are working towards it," Cameron added, before admitting fear after stepping into the unknown.
He is, however, comforted by his own record as one of the island's premier 400m coaches.
"There is fear, but there is also the knowledge, wisdom and motivation to do well," Cameron said. "I have always had a good quarter-mile programme wherever I go - St Jago, Wolmer's, and Racers - every quarter-miler that I coached at Racers has improved."
He added: "I had options. I could have gone anywhere I wanted to go, but I just want to focus on doing well here with those that I have now. I am focusing on young Jamaican athletes that we can put in school here because that is important and if I can show something this year, it will be easier for others to want to come and work out with us in the future."