Athletics still in good hands - Blake says sport will continue to evolve
He's getting ready to premiere his biopic ahead of what will be his farewell season, but despite Usain Bolt's fast-approaching swansong, training partner Yohan Blake believes the sport will be left in good hands.
Bolt's documentary, I Am Bolt, which promises never-before-seen access to the life and experiences of the world's greatest sprinter, is set to hit movie theatres across the world tomorrow, with the sprinter, his parents Jennifer and Wellesley, along with co-directors Benjamin and Gabe Turner, all expected at tomorrow's glitzy premiere at London's West End spot, Odeon Leicester Square.
Blake, who despite recent injury setbacks is still considered by many to be among the sprinters, who will lead the tussle for the soon-to-be-vacated throne, is looking forward to the film, which he believes will show the sacrifices that professional athletes have to endure, while looking back at some of his more memorable moments competing alongside and against Bolt.
"The documentary is wonderful. Usain has achieved so much in this sport. To win three Olympic gold medals at three straight Olympic Games - that is not easy, so he deserves all the attention, and I think the documentary will let people understand what it takes and what takes place. I think it's very important," Blake told The Sunday Gleaner.
Bolt's inevitable departure from competition has sparked some concern that track and field - which already struggles to keep pace with more commercial and popular sports - will fall further behind once the Jamaican leaves the track.
Blake, however, believes there is more than enough exciting talent in the sport to build on the momentum and keep interest high once Bolt's drawing card can no longer be called on.
"I think the sport will continue to evolve (after Bolt's retirement). Look at Wayde van Niekerk who broke the 400m world record (at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games). No one thought that this record would be broken for now and I have something up my sleeve myself, and with Warren (Weir), Trayvon Bromell and so on. A lot of guys are coming up and it will continue to be interesting, of course," Blake stated.
The 2011 World 100m champion, who says he is training well ahead of the new season following his return fourth-placed finish at the Rio Olympic Games, listed his double silver-medal run four years ago at the London Olympics as his favourite races against Bolt.
"I wouldn't say when I beat him (Bolt) in Jamaica (at the 2012 National Senior Championships), but I would say at the London Olympic Games. It was an epic one-on-one battle in the 100m and 200m, and, I think, for me, those were my favourite races against Usain," Blake said.
"It was good to be back at the Olympics. I have to give God thanks. He has changed my life. I came fourth and I am happy with that because you have to learn to appreciate the small moments. I was fourth in the world after an almost three-year layoff, so I am happy and looking forward to the next season," said Blake.
"Everything is going well. (My) coach and my entire team are loving the progress and I am enjoying the background work right now. I think I need to improve my flexibility, and I have been losing some muscle mass and getting back to my old self, and that's what I am focusing on, and just working on my technique," Blake added.