André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
World 100m champion, Yohan Blake, is encouraged by his efforts in two appearances - the Clubs and Institutions' 4x100m that his team won and a near recovery in the 4x400m at Saturday's 37th Gibson Relays.
Blake and his Racers Lions teammates, Mario Forsythe, Jazeel Murphy and Kemar Bailey-Cole, won their heat (38.70) and the final of the 4x100m in 38.50. But the 1600m relay team of Blake, Dwight Mullings, Demar Murray and Warren Weir - clocking 3:04.00 - could not get the better of their clubmates Allodin Fothergill, Riker Hylton, Peter Matthews and Edino Steele who stopped the clock at 3:03.74, with Sprint Tec finishing third in 3:11.00 in an interesting 4x400m finale.
Try as he did, Blake, who closed within touching distance of Steele - who had received the baton with a good 10m lead on the anchor leg - fell just short of securing a heroic comeback, but was left with a big smile on his face after another busy Gibson Relays outing.
"I'm very pleased, I am feeling really good and I am ready to invade," said Blake. "It was a good run, the 4x100m was exceptional for me running the third leg; I think I am getting better on the curve."
The double Olympic silver medallist and relay gold medallist believes that his conditioning is beginning to take shape ahead of his international debut this season, which is expected to be announced shortly.
"I have to say that I am pleased and I have to give God thanks that I could finish on a high. I am not a 400m runner and I did what many guys didn't think I could do, so I am feeling very pleased," Blake continued.
"Trust me, in terms of physical conditioning, it's going exceptionally well, it's over the top and it's right where I wanted it to be," he added. "I started training a little late and for me to be able to come out here and do all of this, I feel very good about where I am physically."
Steele made sure that Blake knew what he thought of his challenge with a bit of showmanship after the race but as Blake explained, it's all part of the sprinters vs quarter-milers banter that takes place at the University of West Indies-based Racers Track Club.
"From in training we have been talking about this, Steele and I have been at it, I just wanted the baton a little earlier and he would have died, but it was fun," Blake laughed. "For me, not running the 400m (regularly) and doing what I did, I am happy with how things went."
Blake, who famously ran a 45.40 split on the anchor leg for St Jago as a 17-year-old at Penn Relays in 2007, has a personal best of 46.49 over 400m.