Sun | Sep 24, 2017

I could've gone faster - Blake

Published:Monday | May 22, 2017 | 5:00 AMRaymond Graham
Mike Rodgers (left) of the USA, with Yohan Blake (center), and Tyquendo Tracey of Jamaica in the men's 100m sprint at the Jamaica International Invitational meet held at the National Stadium on Saturday. Blake won in a time of 9.93 seconds.

THERE were several outstanding performances at Saturday's Jamaica International Invitational Meet as the large crowd that came out was treated to high-quality performances on the track and in the field by some of the world's top athletes. With the meet being held two weeks later than usual, these performances were definitely expected.

Undoubtedly, one of the performances of the meet came in the men's 100m, where one of the country's heroes, Yohan Blake, signalled his comeback with an impressive win in the event in 9.93 seconds, the third fastest time so far in the world this year, as only Sydney Siame of Zambia, with 9.88, and Akani Simbine of South Africa, with 9.92 seconds, have gone faster.

The past four years have not been good for Blake as the last time he was ranked in the top 10 in the event was in 2012. Then, he clocked 9.69 seconds in Lausanne, Switzerland, to be second on the list behind Usain Bolt, who clocked 9.63 seconds for the fastest time that year. After being plagued with injuries since, many thought that it was over for Blake .

It was not good starts this season for the former St Jago High athlete. At the Utech Classics, he had a slipped block and finished at the back of the pack, and that followed with a hiccup in the World Relays in the 4x100m relays for Jamaica. Just a week ago at a meet in Cleremont, USA, his race had to be called off some 20 minutes before the start, due to lightning.

LATE ADDITION

He was not scheduled to run last Saturday, but he was a late addition and he did not let the opportunity slip as he put on a show for the local fans. Fast out of the blocks, he covered the rest of the field quickly, taking control of the race before slowing down in the final 10m to produce a season's best .

He was definitely pleased with his performance.

"I am extremely happy and I am not surprised with my fast winning time, as I could have gone faster. I got out of the blocks real quick as I felt really good as I said 'yes' to myself, 'this is it,' as I felt I was flying.

"I really wanted to put down something special as I had a few disappointments to the start of the season and, possibly, God was not ready for me to run fast yet," said Blake.

"I could have gone much faster, but I do not want to do so yet, and when I realised I had control of the race, I just shut it down," said Blake, who stated that he used his feet to silence his detractors who were saying he was finished.

Blake's manager, Cubie Seebogin, was very elated about his athlete's performance.

"I am very, very happy that he is back now, as he is healthy, and we are not surprised by the fast time as we expected him to go much faster. But as we saw, after controlling the race, he took his foot off the pedal.

"We are expecting a great season from him and after couple disappointments at the start of the season, he is on track now, and now he doesn't need too many races," said Seebogin, who said that Blake's next race will be in Boston in early June, before coming back home for the JN Racers Grand Prix.