2011 World Champion Yohan Blake has again stated the case for being the man best able to fill the boots of training partner and world’s fastest man Usain Bolt when he leaves the sport this season.
A few years ago Blake would have seemed the natural choice to replace his compatriot and Racers Track Club teammate Bolt as the king of world sprinting. However, following a major injury in 2014 and several difficult years, the 27-year-old has seemingly fallen back into the chasing pack.
Recently, however, a rejuvenated Blake seems to be showing signs of a return to the form that saw him claim the place of being the world’s second fastest man. At the recently concluded Jamaica national trials, the sprinter registered his fastest time since 2012. Blake looked a cut above the rest and claims he is ready to step into the limelight and take up the mantle.
“When you have a legend retiring someone has to step up and fill the void. Why not me,” Blake said. I’ve been training hard, I’m feeling fit. I’ve been doing some good work,” he added.
“Usain has been encouraging me every day, he wants me as a Jamaican to be the major force to be reckoned with after he leaves.”
Blake boasts personal bests of 9.69 over the 100m and 19.26 over 200m.
Though Bolt will step away from the sport of track and field by the end of the season, his exact retirement date remains shrouded in mystery.
The 30-year-old is certain that the London World Championships will be his final appearance at a major meet, but has admitted he could still continue the farewell tour at one or two meets after that.
“We haven’t fully made up our mind on what we’re doing yet,” revealed Bolt, who had previously suggested the 4x100m relay final on August 12 could be his final competitive race on a track anywhere.
The dominant Jamaican sprinter, often plagued by injury, has typically competed in only a handful of races over the past several seasons and in several cases has closed the period following a big win at a major championship. The athletics calendar is normally significantly thinner at that time of year, but Bolt has, on occasion, gone on to make his final appearance of the year at the Brussels Diamond League meet. The sprinter was, however, quick to point out that the decision was not one that required primary focus at the moment.
“I’m not worrying about that until the World Championships or at least getting close to it,” Bolt said.