Jamaica’s 400m record holder Jermaine Gonzales is no longer with Racers Track Club, a reliable source has informed Caribbean TrackLife. A few weeks ago, Gonzales’ coach Bertland Cameron left Racers, fueling speculation that the soon-to-be 28-year-old Gonzales would follow. However, Mills, the chief at Racers and coach of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, later told the media he did not know Gonzales’ plans subsequent to his coach’s resignation.
Following the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Cameron, who was in charge of the 400m program at Racers, was severely criticized by Jamaican fans for passing Gonzales fit to run in the preliminary round of the 4x4 relay in London. Gonzales, who was well-placed in the race, stopped running after about 100 meters, ending Jamaica’s prospect for a medal and setting off a wave of harsh criticisms that his fitness level had not really improved since the Jamaica National Trials in June and, therefore, should not have been allowed to run. Cameron argued otherwise, noting that he would not have done anything to jeopardize Gonzales’ health.
Also leaving Racers are female 400m hurdler Nickiesha Wilson; Javier Bell, the 2011 Jamaica High School 400m champion; Marvin Anderson, a 200m specialist and staple on the Racers sprint relay team; and Markino Buckley and Josef Robertson, both 400m hurdles specialists. While Buckley and Robertson are said to be headed back to MVP Club located not far from Racers, we have not been able to ascertain where the others will train.
And with Gonzales’s departure from Racers, Riker Hylton, the 2011 national 400m champion, is on his way in. Hylton, who graduates in December from Louisiana State University (LSU) in the US where he transferred from Essex County College in New Jersey, will join the Racers clan in January. A former St. Jago High School teammate of Yohan Blake and Nickel Ashmeade, Hylton has been long expected to be a major force at the senior level but has not managed to go faster than 45.30. Notwithstanding, he was a member of Jamaica’s 4x4 bronze medal squad at the Daegu World Championships last year and represented the country in London where he ran the second leg, passing the baton to Gonzales in medal contention.
Hylton, who turns 24 in December, is an LSU top 400m man, as well as a key member of the school’s 4x4 and 4x2 relay quartets. With school behind him and a new training regimen under Coach Mills, Hylton’s time could improve tremendously for the Jamaica 2013 championships, ahead of the August World Championships in Russia, where Jamaica hopes to challenge for the 4x4 title.