Former World 100m champion Yohan Blake is encouraging Jamaica's junior athletes competing at the ongoing ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships to use the event as a springboard to become the greatest versions of themselves.
Blake, who represented St Jago High School, is a former 100m record holder at Champs. He is the second-fastest man of all time with times of 9.69 seconds in the 100m and 19.26 in the 200m. Blake's compatriot and legendary sprinter Usain Bolt is the fastest man ever with times of 9.58 in the 100m and 19.19 in the 200m.
"Just enjoy every moment of it because every point counts. And take no prisoners, and just ensure that you do your best at all times," said Blake.
"Aim high. This is your stepping stone towards great things. This is where Usain [Bolt], Warren Weir, Shelly-Ann Fraser[-Pryce] and Elaine Thompson-[Herah] started — and you can be us and even better," he added.
Reigning World 200m champion Shericka Jackson, who represented Vere Technical during her Champs career, said athletes should enjoy every moment of the championships because it is one of, if not, the best high school track and field meets in the world.
"For me personally, I think they should have some fun because anything is possible. You just have to go out there and compete and do your best. Show your beautiful smile and just enjoy the championships," said Jackson.
The 29-year-old Jackson, who is conditioned by world-renowned coach Stephen Francis at the MVP Track Club, won the 200m gold medal at the last World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in 21.45 seconds. She also won a silver medal in the 100m at last year's World Championships, behind her compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce .
Jackson is also advising the athletes that they must hydrate themselves throughout the championships because this will help to prevent injuries.
"Hydration is good but some persons think it is on the day you hydrate, but you have to start hydrating the night before if you want to go out there blazing and have some fun," she said. "You have to hydrate the night before because the sun is going to be hot, so you can get hurt easily," Jackson advised.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles champion Janieve Russell, who won six Girls' Champs titles with Holmwood Technical from 2006 to 2011, underlined that the event forms a very important part of the budding athletes' careers, and she offered a few tips.
"My advice to the athletes is to just be confident and just be positive in everything that you do, and just go out there and be ready to compete because you all have trained hard for this," she noted.
"It is the month that the climate is going to change because sometimes it is going to be hot and sometimes is going to be chilly, so just ensure that you drink a lot of water and a lot of Gatorade, and hydrate yourself the night before the competition and during the competition," she said.
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