Blake, Mills part ways

Sprinter ends 10 years under the guidance of legendary coach

Observer staff reporter

Friday, January 11, 2019

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Patrick Dawson, who has taken up the mantle as the new coach of former World Championships 100m gold medallist Yohan Blake, says he was surprised by the split between the sprinter and Racers Track Club Head c oach Glen Mills after a fairly fruitful 10-year relationship.

“I have been working with him for about a month now, but he is familiar with me because we did some work together while he was at Racers. What I am surprised about is the split after so many years working together,” Dawson, who serves as technical director at Racers Track Club, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Mills, who also confirmed the separation between himself and Blake, expressed uncertainty as to whether the athlete will maintain his base in Jamaica or move overseas.

“I don't coach him anymore. Whether he will stay here in the long term, I cannot say,” Mills told the Observer, adding that Blake, who has been slowed by a series of injuries since 2013, would still train at the University of the West Indies (The UWI) Mona-based track club under the direct guidance of Dawson.

However, until Blake makes his decision, Dawson explained that work continues to burn in the field with the 29-year-old sprinter with the 17th edition of the IAAF World Championships to be held in Doha, Qatar, later this year being their main target.

Blake, who came to prominence as a schoolboy prodigy at St Jago High under the guidance of Coach Danny Hawthorne, became the youngest ever IAAF World Championships 100m gold medallist in 2011.

He took advantage of his training partner Usain Bolt's disqualification in the semi-finals of the 100m to win gold in Daegu, South Korea, when he was 21 years old.

Blake's upward trend continued from there as he sped his way to being the world's second fastest man in the 100m and 200m with times of 9.69s and 19.26s in 2012. Only retired training partner and world record holder Usain Bolt has gone faster with 9.58 and 19.19.

He was also a part of several gold medal-winning relay teams at the Olympic Games and World Championships, as well as the IAAF World Junior Championships.

“I am pleased with where he is at, I would say he is around 90 per cent and we are just working on getting back in form. I think our first track meet will be the Camperdown Classics, so we will see how he performs at that meet and then we will take it from there.

“We are working on his start but besides that there won't be much difference to his programme because coach Mills and I have the same philosophy and we are both sprint coaches,” Dawson shared.

“One thing you can expect though is to see him running more 100m races. We have high expectations for this year because at the end of the day the main aim is to win the 100m gold and that is what we are going after,” he added.

Meanwhile, Blake, who revealed that he was now under the guidance of Dawson, is bubbling with enthusiasm about how well his preparations are going thus far.

“I think this is a platform for me to get back my cadence and everything... I am in training right now and I feel very good, I just want to keep it like that and remain injury free and the sky is the limit because I am right there, I am not far off,” he told journalists during the launch of the Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run at the Jamaica Pegasus on Wednesday.

“I have some 400m in mind, but I am just waiting to see what Patrick Dawson has in store for me. My body is great, I haven't felt like this since 2012 and I am feeling really good.

“The most pleasing thing for me is that I am healthy and training well right now and I just want to keep fit because once I keep fit, I know the sky is the limit, so the aim is just to stay injury free,” Blake ended.

— Additional reporting by Paul Reid

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