'I'm not worried,' says Blake after lukewarm season openerTuesday, March 02, 2021
JAMAICA'S track and field season officially opened on Saturday with the first in the series of meets being staged by the sports governing body — the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Qualification Trials.
The series of meets, which will run until April, is designed to give both junior and senior athletes the opportunity to prepare and attain qualification standards for both local and international events.
One senior athlete who is looking to take full advantage of the series is former World 100m champion Yohan Blake, who took the opportunity to commence his season at the National Stadium on Saturday.
Blake was less than impressive in finishing third in 21.72 seconds during his heat of the men's 200m and fourth overall, but was not overly concerned about the time he ran.
“First and foremost, give God thanks. It's good to be running again. I've been out for a really long time because of what's going on and I feel a bit heavy. I knew this was going to happen, but I have to get out the rust out of the body.”
Blake promised to run himself back into shape with the Tokyo Olympic Games definitely set to take place this year, starting in late July.
“I don't feel bad at all, it's just getting better. I'm just going to keep running…until I'm race-ready.”
The 31-year-old explained that he was loaded going into the race, hence the sluggish opener.
“I have been doing this for a while now so it doesn't matter what I run [to open the season] because we have just been training, training, and no running [racing], so it's kinda hard to come back and run like that. But, I'm not going to lie, I feel good. I'm loaded, I've been training all week, so I'm not worried. This was like a training run for me to see where my body is at under the load.”
He also explained why it was important to have some form of competition under his belt as he keeps his focus on the Olympic Games.
“There is always a difference in training and competition because in competition everybody is giving it their all, so that's what happens when you are on the track. It's a big difference. So, I just thank God I finished healthy and I'm just looking forward to my last Olympics.”
Blake doesn't think the locally based athletes are at a significant disadvantage due to the late start of the season, as the overseas athletes who have been racing since January are doing what they always do.
“The season starts a bit late, but they [Americans] always run indoors, so nothing has really changed. Outdoor [season] in the US hasn't started as yet…we will be alright.”
Blake gave an indication of when he is likely to begin running overseas and what he will be doing when he hangs up his spikes.
“I am looking forward to going international in May. I will be taking up a job at Sky Sports, I will be doing commentary as well.”
With this Olympic Games definitely being his last, Blake will be expecting to clock much faster times over the next few weeks.
— Dwayne Richards
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