Laurie Foster | The Blessed One can be great again
The World Championships in Athletics, the flagship event in the world of Track & Field will celebrate its 17th staging in the Qatari city of Doha, this year. Usually staged in the month of August and in keeping with climatic conditions in the venue city, it will have a pushback to occupy ten days from September 27 to October 6.
The 2011 men’s World Champion in the 100m, Yohan Blake has exited himself from the camp of coaching ace Glen Mills, seemingly on mutually agreed terms. He is now taking instructions on his preparation for Doha from Patrick Dawson, also of the Racers Track Club which is the brainchild of Mills. This is deja vous for Blake, since he was previously under the tutelege of Dawson. It was while with Mills, that the national junior record holder registered the second fastest times ever at both the 100m and the 200m of 9.69 and 19.26 seconds, respectively.
There is no lack of appreciation for the suggestion that an athlete should be self-empowered to make his or her own decision about the future. However, this is not to say that a contradicting view is not quite in order. Foster’s Fairplay dares to question this move by Blake. Should he not have gone for an option external to the Mills camp?
Although it was a conversation among the sport’s family for some time, another argument has surfaced publicly since the change of coach. It concerns whether Blake should have been a part of the Racers camp from his introduction to the Senior level. The problem was that it was also the home of the legendary Usain Bolt. Views have been expressed that more attention would have been given to the big man to the detriment of Blake’s advance. It must be emphasised that there is no hard evidence to substantiate that claim but that did not prevent the tongues from wagging. One can only depend on the professionalism of Mills to be the convincing factor that such a thing was merely the figment of a suspicious and perhaps an overactive mind.
After all that is said, the current situation is that Blake and his advisors have placed themselves in a position where they are compelled to contend with what could be a strong challenge. Should he fail to overcome it, one thing is certain and it is that the Bakers, Colemans and the DeGrasses, who populate his events, will not be offering a shoulder for him to cry on. With the spate of career-threatening injuries which has so far been a feature of his sojourn at or close to the top, adversity has been his constant bedfellow. However, his public utterances do not give the impression that he is devoid of the resilience and strength to conquer what seems to be negative at this stage. It is these attributes which he must now bring to the fore and let them guide his path to be able to measure up to what the rest of the sprinting world has to offer.
If Foster’s Fairplay were blessed with the privilege to take Blake aside and whisper a few words, it should go something like this: “Young man, you have chosen your routing into the future. Quite apart from any advice you were afforded, it is felt that you were comfortable with the resultant decision. Rightly or wrongly, it should be made to be the way forward to further glory.
Any thoughts of making another switch leading into the World Championships should be discouraged. Keep your thoughts between your coach and yourself as it is you two who are in charge of your intended progress.
Be not distracted and focus on that podium as it is sure that the detractors will all come running back when the final triumphs are achieved – best of luck, Yohan, we believe you can do it and we know that you believe it as well.”
Blake should allow Doha to be the defining moment in his career, thus proving that the Blessed One can be great again.
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With the spate of career-threatening injuries which has so far been a feature of his sojourn at or close to the top, adversity has been his constant bedfellow. However, his public utterances do not give the impression that he is devoid of the resilience and strength to conquer what seems to be negative at this stage.