Yohan Blake insists his friendship with fellow Jamaican, training partner and sprint rival Usain Bolt will survive whatever happens at London 2012.†
Blake confirmed he will be the main threat to Bolt’s 100m and 200m crowns when he beat the Olympic champion over both distances at the Jamaican trials.
“Win, lose, or draw, we are friends, even though it is business and he wants to win and I want to win,” said Blake.
The men’s 100m and 200m finals are on August 5 and 9 respectively.
Blake’s performances in Kingston at the end of June delivered world-leading times in both events and established his credentials as a potential successor rather than just leading bridesmaid to Bolt in London.
Blake is the reigning world champion over 100m after winning in Daegu in 2011 in 9.92 seconds, although that victory was achieved after world record-holder Bolt was disqualified for a false start in the final.
Six days later Bolt stormed to victory in the 200m to underline his status as favourite for both sprint titles in London.
Blake believes that his decision to leave his school coach in October 2008 and join Bolt under coach Glen Mills at the Racers Track Club in Kingston has helped him chip away at that aura of invincibility ever since.
“Every time in training I want to win, but he’s always there. So I say ‘OK, how am I going to win on the big day?'” added Blake.
“That’s why some of the time I tend to be at the front so when I get on the track I can say ‘OK, I beat him in training’.”
Far from resisting Blake’s rise, Bolt has been key in helping to develop the man he dubbed ‘the Beast’ and tipped as a future rival back in 2009.
“He will say to me: ‘Yohan, look, you’re not doing this for the people, you’re not doing this for the fans, you’re not doing this for your family, you’re doing this for yourself.’ He can motivate me,” added Blake.
Motivation is not something that Blake has ever appeared to lack. The 22-year-old is famed for his serious-minded dedication to training harder and longer than any of his rivals, while Bolt’s light-hearted confidence has become as much part of his fame as landmark times and yawning winning margins.
Bolt jokes that he is nervous about tipping Blake as the man to win gold if he cannot at the Olympics.
“We train every day, I know how hard he works, so I would love for Blake to win if I wasn’t in the 100m, but let’s not ask this question again please, let’s not jinx me on that one,” he said.
The 25-year-old’s continuing problems with his start suggests the pressure of staying ahead of his friend is beginning to tell on the track as well as in news conferences. (BBC)
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