I cried every night - Blake
"Every night I cried".
In April 2013, months before the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, then world 100m champion Yohan Blake limped off the National Stadium Mondo in clear pain, while competing in a 100m at the University of Technology Classic.
That grimace - first downplayed after early projections, became tears of agony as the budding sprinter saw his hopes of defending his title disappear, when it became clear he would not recover in time from a hamstring injury to make the trip to Moscow.
It was a devastating blow for the Olympic 100m and 200m silver medalist, who shared with a group of international journalists - the challenges faced during his recovery and his drive to get back to the top.
After 10 months on the sidelines, Blake, who made his return to competitive action on February 8 in a 400m at the Camperdown Classics, said he is excited about getting back into full stride and thanked those who stayed close to him and helped him through what he described as a difficult recovery process.
"Getting back - trust me, it was not easy," said Blake. "Every night I cried; every night it was hard.
"Throughout my injury there were a lot of persons there talking to me like (manager) Cubie (Seegobin), (local manager) Mr (Timothy) Spencer, Sean Kettle, coach (Glen) Mills; everyone was there talking to me and encouraging me that it wasn't the end of the world," Blake added.
"But I know what I can do and I know once I'm healthy, I am dangerous and so they did well to encourage me to keep focused and reminded me that it was not the end of the world," he shared.
Blake - a standout at 'Champs' during his St Jago High School days, winning 15 medals in his junior and youth career at the World Junior Championships, Pan American Junior Championships, Central America and Caribbean Junior Championships, and the Carifta Games, has enjoyed a strong three years on the professional stage, winning five Olympic and World Championships medals in the period.
FAIRLY ACTIVE CALENDAR
The 24-year-old has been working hard to get back in top shape and has had a fairly active calendar, so far, on the early-season local circuit with a 4x100m run at last week's UTech Classic and a 200m at the UWI Invitational, complementing his Camperdown Classic appearance.
However, so far, the sprinter's only confirmation of appearance at a major international meet, is at the June 14 Adidas New York Diamond League meet.
Blake said he is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to test his readiness and gauge how fast he will be able to go this season after his tough layoff.
"I'm really excited but my agent has to be keeping me calm. I'm really excited and I'm just working my way back and taking my time. When it's time to let loose I will be unleashed," Blake noted.
Only World record-holder Usain Bolt has gone faster than Blake over the 100m and 200m, with the youngster staking his claim with personal best times of 9.69 seconds in the 100m and 19.26 seconds in the 200m.