Blake lights up MVP meet - Drops 'Beast' nickname, relieved after injury setbacks
Former world 100m champion Yohan Blake sent out an early message to his rivals when he stole the spotlight at the MVP Track and Field meet inside the National Stadium on Saturday night.
Blake seemed to be nearing his best after years of injury setbacks as he gave the fair-sized crowd something to talk about, stopping the clock in a world leading 9.95 seconds to win his 100m heat.
After seeing his training partner at Racers Track Club, Warren Weir, posting 10.07 seconds to win his 100m race in the previous heat, Blake settled in his blocks in front of an anxious crowd inside the venue.
The sprinter caught up to the field in the early part of the race then burst away from the pack to score an impressive
win ahead of Sprintec's Rasheed Dwyer and
High Performance Training Centre's Zharnel Hughes, who both clocked 10.10 seconds.
"First and foremost, I must give God thanks. He has been present in my life and has changed my life over the past weeks, and I have gotten rid of that name the 'Beast'. I am happy for the win as I came out and delivered and it is like a heavy load has been lifted off my head," Blake said after his run.
"While warming up before the race, I felt very good, and I am extremely happy with my first outing. This is a big step for me, and I can say Yohan is back," Blake declared.
Earlier, Blake had teamed up with Weir, St Kitts and Nevis' Jason Rodgers, and Michael Frater to win the Open 4x100m for Racers in a zippy 38.45 seconds.
Annsert Whyte effortlessly clocked a season best 49.39 seconds in winning his men's 400m hurdles event - the fastest time for the night in the event.
Javarn Gallimore was next best in 50.09 seconds, while Ricardo Cunningham of Cameron Blazers Track Club, who was running the event for the second time in his career, won his section in 50.28 seconds for the third fastest time overall.
Racers-based Antiguan Miguel Francis delivered big time in copping the men's 200m event with a 20.11 seconds clocking, getting the better of Sprintec's Oshane Bailey, 20.42, with 400m specialist Javon Francis of Akan Track Club finishing third in 20.54 seconds.
MVP's Jonia McDonald continued to show improvements in the 400m as, competing in the final heat, he cruised to victory in 46.32 seconds for the fastest time, overall, with Peter Matthews finishing second in 46.38 seconds ahead of Josef Robertson, 46.45.
Making his debut in the one-lap event this season, outstanding Junior Jaheel Hyde won his heat in 46.66 seconds to be fourth overall,
Kingston College, Calabar, and Jamaica College warmed up for next weekend's Penn Relays in impressive style as all three teams went under 40 seconds in the 4x100m relay, with Kingston College leading the way. The quartet of Shivnarine Smalling, Akeem Bloomfield, Jhevaughn Matherson and Tyrese Bryan finished second behind Racers in 39.52 seconds, the fastest time by a schoolboy team this year and a Kingston College school record. Calabar were third in 39.60 seconds, while Jamaica College were fourth in 39.77 seconds.
On the female side, it was Sprintec's Ronda Whyte who stole the show with a big personal best in the women's 400m hurdles. Whyte was at her best as she turned back a strong field to win the event in 55.58 seconds to be the top Jamaican female in the event so far this season. Trailing her in second was training partner at Sprintec, Ristananna Tracey, 56.04, and her sister, Nikita Tracey, 56.33, of MVP Track Club.
World Championships 400m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson, 52.10, topped the field in the women's 400m, getting the better of Namibia's Herunga Tjipekapora, 52.81, and Dawnalee Loney, 53.14.