World 100m champion Yohan Blake (left) arrives at the Jamaica Pegasus for a brief meeting
with Sports Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange (right) shortly after his arrival in Jamaica yesterday
afternoon. In the background is Blake's local manager Timothy Spencer.
- Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
'I can go faster'
By André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Tuesday | September 20, 2011
Blake ponders improvements in sprints next season
"Food ... dumpling, chicken; that kind of stuff." That's what's on the mind of new 100m world champion and the second-fastest man over 200m, Yohan Blake.
Oh, there is also the matter of running that event at next year's Olympic Games in London; training partner Usain Bolt, getting faster in his events and coping with his new superstar status.
Blake, who has been off the island training and competing on the circuit - and, of course, the World Championships, for the past two months, made his return to Jamaica yesterday at the Norman Manley International Airport. And while he was anxious to reacquaint himself with some local cuisine, the 21-year-old is also eyeing next year's Olympic Games, where he is charged and ready to eclipse this year's exploits.
"If you look at my reaction time (.269) and I ran the turn a bit slow, you can see that I can go faster in the 200m and also my 100m technically can improve," said Blake, who will now enjoy a couple of weeks off before heading back into training.
"My start has been poor, I have been getting bad starts and if I can improve that my, time can be much better over the 100m," he continued between camera flashes and signature-searching fans.
This is just one of the things that the man - now the youngest-ever 100m world champion after his 9.92-second run in Daegu, South Korea - is still getting used to.
"I can hardly walk in Europe, my life has changed significantly," Blake exclaimed. "Once I could walk in Europe and people didn't even know who I am, but now I am like a public figure ... my life has changed."
However, Blake, who ran 19.26 seconds over 200m at the recent Brussels Diamond League meeting in Belgium - a mark only bettered by Bolt's world-record 19.19-second run at the Berlin World Championships in 2009, is expecting things to be a little different when he and his training partner head back to work in a matter of weeks and in competition next season.
"Usain (Bolt) and I are very close. We have been training together for two years now and I don't think that anything has changed, but it's going to be more intense in training next year and also in competition," Blake agreed.
200m next season
Another thing that's for certain is that the former St Jago High school man will be paying far more attention to the 200m next season after running the half-lap event only four times this year.
"My coach will now take that into consideration even though I joke around with the 200m, but he'll get me more serious about it," Blake noted.
Blake, who met Prime Minister Bruce Golding and Sports Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange at Jamaica House, was also grateful for the appreciation shown and attention given for his achievements.
Meeting the PM
"Sometimes too much attention is not good, but I'm enjoying this. I have dreamt about this my whole life and finally it's coming true. It's a special feeling to be meeting the prime minister and Sports Minister Olivia Grange," said Blake, who expressed a willingness to serve as a source of motivation for youngsters across the island.
"I would like to be an ambassador, to go around and speak to them (youngsters). I would like to be a big inspiration to young Jamaicans," Blake said.
Golding, in the meantime, lauded Blake's accomplishments, while Grange described the youngster as an inspiration.
"Congratulations, you have made Jamaica proud. We expect great things from you and Minister Grange will advise me as to the type of support that we can provide because your success is Jamaica's pride," said Golding.
Grange noted: "Blake is a tremendous inspiration for Jamaica and for young people, particularly those who are at the level where they are coming out of high school and will be moving into the elite group. What Yohan has achieved is a statement to them to say, 'Look, you can achieve it as well'."