Yohan Blake firmly in his sister's corner

He has been a tremendous influence on my life, says Daniela Blake

BY HG HELPS Editor-at-Large helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, September 22, 2013

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DANIELA Blake is using her brother's achievements to stimulate her and place her along a path of success outside of athletics.

Daniela, 16, youngest sister of world-class sprinter Yohan Blake, has already put her better foot forward, as she passed two Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC) subjects (Spanish and Religious Education) in the 10th grade (formerly fourth form), at Hopewell High School in Eastern Hanover.

And as she pushes her foot further down on the accelerator in her quest to become an entrepreneur, Daniela is lining up at least another eight subjects which she expects to ace at next year's sitting, although she has been recommended to do 10.

Originally from Bogue Hill in South St James, Daniela and her family now live on Leaders Avenue, near the Sangster International Airport, in the western city.

The 30-minute journey from home to school daily is spent many times fleshing out plans for the future, which she knows will be bright.

She has already come up with the name of her store —Jededore — a French word meaning adorable, which will stock her own line of clothing, the Blake line, as well as shoes with accessories.

Becoming a wedding planner is also included in her list of business ventures.

But for the last of her mother's eight and her father's 11 children, completing her CSEC subjects, spending a further two years working on CAPE subjects, perhaps at Montego Bay Community College and then going up the altar of higher learning at the University of the West Indies, are her priorities.

All along the way, Yohan, a World Championship 100-metre champion, has been one of her main sources of inspiration and motivation.

The fact that both have maintained a close friendship from childhood days, despite his treatment of her cat, has made her journey to fortune and possibly fame, that much easier.

"I have a very good relationship with him. When we were growing up we used to play a lot and we still play now, but I was vexed with him at one time because he killed my cat.

"He has been a tremendous influence on my life. Every time I go to his house in Cherry Gardens, I say 'that's how I want to live.'

"When he is driving, I say that's how I want to be. That's why I am working hard to reach that point.

"He supports me in every way and when I want help, he is always there," Daniela said.

Despite the prowess of her brother on the track, Daniela has never felt the urge to follow in his footsteps, as according to her it is not in her genes.

Not in her genes?

"Yes, running is not in my genes," she insists. "I am not motivated to run. I love to play tennis and badminton... those are my two favourite sports.

"I wanted the chance to further those, but I didn't get it, because you don't really find much of that played in Montego Bay, and because I have school, only in the summer and December holidays I get to go to Kingston to do those stuff," she said.

Did Yohan ever try to convince her to take up athletics?

"Yes, at one point he did, but I told him that it was just not me. I would play tennis and stuff like that, but I wouldn't run," she insisted. "We also used to play cricket together when I was younger and that was something I enjoyed, although I got hit in my head one time with a cricket ball," she added.

Whenever her 23-year-old brother is on the track, a feeling of nervousness engulfs her. That feeling becomes even more intense if World Championship and Olympic sprint champion, and Racers Track Club mate Usain Bolt is in the line-up.

"If he is running beside Bolt I start to get nervous, because I would say what if he false-starts, or what if something goes wrong?

"If he is not running beside Bolt I am 100 per cent confident that he will pull through," Daniela said, while predicting that the best of her brother will come soon.

"By the next Olympics he will be the top sprinter in the world, because he is well-rested and I think he will be ready.

"Bolt will get beaten by Yohan by the next Olympics, or even earlier," she predicted of the man whom she said keeps in touch with her regularly and checks up on her school work consistently, even if he is far away.

Daniela also intends to assist her brother with the running of the Yohan Blake Foundation, which was established recently.

An expansion of the foundation, to function more effectively across the island, is in the works, she said, something that she is anxious to get involved with.





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