Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Laurie Foster | Wrong move Yohan Blake!

Published:Wednesday | February 26, 2020 | 12:15 AM
Yohan Blake

The newspaper article simply said, “Jamaican sprinter, Yohan Blake, will be in India next month to promote the Road Safety World Series, a T20 cricket tournament.” Further to that, Blake confirmed on his Instagram page, “Wow I’m so excited that I am going to India but at the same time I’m sad because one person loses their life every four minutes in India due to road accidents.” Since then, many persons who consider themselves to be ardent followers of the sport of track and field, including avid supporters of the man who has the world’s second fastest time in both sprints, have expressed their views. Foster’s Fairplay is aligned with those who question if the participation in a charity cricket match is what should be on his plate at this time.

It is not that the situation which Blake is contemplating, is not worthy of his support. The loss of even one precious life on the public thoroughfare is significant enough to attract this sort of attention. However, one must consider that Blake is at a crossroads in his career. His best displays of his awesome sprinting powers came at the Daegu World Championships in 2011 and the following year at the Olympic Games in London. At the former, he was crowned World Champion in the 100m and in the latter, he won the silver medal behind Usain Bolt in both short sprints. Then followed a series of injuries which curtailed his activities to the extent that he went without a global top three finish in either of the two events until the present time. Now this is Olympic year again, and he has stated that it could be his last at the quadrennial event. With that in mind, his focus should be on the Olympics in Tokyo and not at some festive or charity-type competition which has nothing to do with track and field.

Enormous privilege

Only those who can boast the enormous privilege of being the advisers to Blake can say whether this move to participate in a cricket charity event met with their approval. One would prefer to think that it was discussed and not just a decision taken by the athlete himself without consultation. Foster’s Fairplay lays no claim to being an expert on these matters, but it is difficult to conclude that Blake’s decision could have been supported by his handlers. If having considered it, they could have advised that the trip to India should be taken, then it could be argued that they were not acting in his best interests. After careful consideration of the matter, the question needs to be asked, “How would they excuse themselves if any injury should come from a pastime which does not address what should be Blake’s primary consideration at this time – his Tokyo preparation?”

Meanwhile, as we keep our fingers crossed, Foster’s Fairplay, and we dare to say the entire track and field community, can only hope for the best in what is felt to be an ill-advised decision.

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