Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Jamaican sprinting star Yohan Blake is fine-tuning ahead of next season's defence of his 100 metres World Championships title after resuming training just over a week ago.
Blake won the 100m title at the Daegu World Championships last year after training partner and Olympic champion Usain Bolt false-started and was consequently thrown out of the race.
The former St Jago High School standout told The Gleaner that things have been progressing well in training at the University of the West Indies-based Racers Track Club, and that he and coach Glen Mills have been working on correcting several technical defects ahead of the season.
"I started training last Monday and it has been progressing well. I am just in the background part of it, of course, but it's going according to plan so far," Blake said.
"My start has improved, but technically, what I am looking to work on is getting more stride length. If I get that, I will be able to shave a lot off my times," Blake added. "Also, my hand comes across my body and I tend to run sideways, and so we are working on that a lot this year, so next season should be a cracker."
Daegu, Olympic experience
The 22-year-old, who became the youngest 100m World champion at 21 years old, also pointed out that his experience in Daegu and at the recent Olympic Games in London, where he won two silver medals in the 100m and 200m, as well as a 4x100m gold medal, will go a long way in preparing him to deal with the expectations and pressures of a title defence.
"I've been through the Olympics and I have been through the World Championships before so I have got the pressure off my back. Coach Mills is also working with me, and also Usain Bolt is there with me every day encouraging me, so next year is not about pressure for me but it's all about just training hard and going to the World Championships and defending my title," Blake underlined.
The sprinter, who was last year awarded for the 'Performance of the Year' and was among the finalists for the Athlete of the Year award at last year's IAAF Grand Gala in Monaco, is no longer in contention after he was not named among the top three. He, however, shared that there is no disappointment on his part, and that he is motivated to work even harder going into the coming season.
"I am not disappointed because it was expected, there are so many persons who did exceptionally well this year and are being recognised. I am young, I am just 22, so there will be a lot more time for me," said Blake. "Next year is the World Championships and in 2015 another World Championships, and then the Olympics again after that, so I have a long 10 years ahead of me. So I am not disappointed, this just encourages me to work harder."