Still in good hands

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - An­dré Lowe Spe­cial Projects Edi­tor – Sports

LON­DON, Eng­land: E’S GET­TING ready to pre­miere his biopic ahead of what will be his farewell sea­son, but de­spite Usain Bolt’s fast-ap­proach­ing swan­song, train­ing part­ner Yo­han Blake be­lieves the sport will be left in good hands. Bolt’s doc­u­men­tary, I Am Bolt, which prom­ises ne­ver­be­fore-seen ac­cess to the life and ex­pe­ri­ences of the world’s great­est sprinter, is set to hit movie the­atres across the world to­mor­row, with the sprinter, his par­ents Jen­nifer and Welles­ley, along with co-di­rec­tors Ben­jamin and Gabe Turner, all ex­pected at to­mor­row’s glitzy pre­miere at Lon­don’s West End spot, Odeon Le­ices­ter Square. Blake, who de­spite re­cent in­jury set­backs is still con­sid­ered by many to be among the sprint­ers, who will lead the tus­sle for the soon-to-be-va­cated throne, is look­ing for­ward to the film, which he be­lieves will show the sac­ri­fices that pro­fes­sional ath­letes have to en­dure, while look­ing back at some of his more mem­o­rable mo­ments com­pet­ing along­side and against Bolt.

H“The doc­u­men­tary is won­der­ful. Usain has achieved so much in this sport. To win three Olympic gold medals at three straight Olympic Games – that is not easy, so he de­serves all the at­ten­tion, and I think the doc­u­men­tary will let peo­ple un­der­stand what it takes and what takes place. I think it’s very im­por­tant,” Blake told The Sun­day Gleaner.

Bolt’s in­evitable de­par­ture from com­pe­ti­tion has sparked some con­cern that track and field – which al­ready strug­gles to keep pace with more com­mer­cial and pop­u­lar sports – will fall fur­ther be­hind once the Ja­maican leaves the track.

ENOUGH TA­LENT

Blake, how­ever, be­lieves there is more than enough ex­cit­ing ta­lent in the sport to build on the mo­men­tum and keep in­ter­est high once Bolt’s draw­ing card can no longer be called on.

“I think the sport will con­tinue to evolve (af­ter Bolt’s re­tire­ment). Look at Wayde van Niek­erk who broke the 400m world record (at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games). No one thought that this record would be bro­ken for now and I have some­thing up my sleeve my­self, and with War­ren (Weir), Trayvon Bromell and so on. A lot of guys are com­ing up and it will con­tinue to be in­ter­est­ing, of course,” Blake stated. The 2011 World 100m cham­pion, who says he is train­ing well ahead of the new sea­son fol­low­ing his re­turn fourth­placed fin­ish at the Rio Olympic Games, listed his dou­ble sil­ver-medal run four years ago at the Lon­don Olympics as his favourite races against Bolt. “I wouldn’t say when I beat him (Bolt) in Ja­maica (at the 2012 Na­tional Se­nior Cham­pi­onships), but I would say at the Lon­don Olympic Games. It was an epic one-on-one bat­tle in the 100m and 200m, and, I think, for me, those were my favourite races against Usain,” Blake said. “It was good to be back at the Olympics. I have to give God thanks. He has changed my life. I came fourth and I am happy with that be­cause you have to learn to ap­pre­ci­ate the small mo­ments. I was fourth in the world af­ter an al­most three-year lay­off, so I am happy and look­ing for­ward to the next sea­son,” said Blake. “Ev­ery­thing is go­ing well. (My) coach and my en­tire team are lov­ing the progress and I am en­joy­ing the back­ground work right now. I think I need to im­prove my flex­i­bil­ity, and I have been los­ing some mus­cle mass and get­ting back to my old self, and that’s what I am fo­cus­ing on, and just work­ing on my tech­nique,” Blake added.

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