Although not considered one of Jamaica’s elite athletes, Rasheed Dwyer is quietly piling up the international medals and in 2015 he garnered three gold and a silver to cap a wonderful season.
Dwyer, 26, the 2014 Commonwealth Games 200m champion, smashed the legendary Donald Quarrie’s 44-year-old Pan American Games 200m record of 19.86 seconds set in 1971, and lowered it to 19.80 in the semi-final in Toronto, Canada last July.
He would return later with a wonderful 19.90 seconds, but was nipped on the line by promising Canadian Andre DeGrasse, who ran a personal best 19.88 seconds. Panamian Alonso Edward was third, also in 19.90s, with veteran American Wallace Spearman back in fifth in 20.11 seconds.
It was a hard loss for Dwyer after leading all the way, but it announced him as a genuine world-class 200m runner, and he would strike gold at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships (NACAC) in San Jose, Costa Rica, in August.
Dwyer clocked 20.12 in capturing gold in the men’s 200m final.
This victory added to his 200m gold in 2011 at the World University Games in South Korea. Throw in the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold won in Scotland, and he has to be regarded as one of the top 200m runners in the world.
Only world record-holder Usain Bolt, with a season’s best of 19.55 seconds, and American Justin Gatlin, with times of 19.57, 19.68 and 19.74, have gone faster in 2015.
Dwyer struck gold twice — in the 4x200m relays at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas and through his semi-final run as part of the victorious 4x100m team at the World Championships in Beijing, China last year.
Dwyer teamed up with Nickel Ashmeade, Jason Livermore and Warren Weir to win in 1:20.97 minutes, but their win was a far cry from their world record of 1:18.63 minutes set in 2014.
It was a special year for Dwyer, and not many can boast an impressive medal haul of three gold and one silver for 2015.