Seville, Ackeem Blake carry men’s sprint hopes
Oblique Seville is the sixth fastest Jamaican man over 100m.

FRIDAY night’s men’s 100m final at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association’s (JAAA) National Championships at the National Stadium could see the dawn of a new era in Jamaican men’s sprinting.

Oblique Seville, 21, with a best of 9.86 seconds, and 20-year-old Ackeem Blake (9.95) are the only Jamaicans who have run under 10 seconds so far this season. Both seem poised to take over the mantle left behind by the incomparable Usain Bolt who ran his final race five years ago.

Filling the gap left by the greatest 100m/200m sprinter the world has ever seen was always going to be a very tall task. But neither Yohan Blake, who won in 2011 to become the youngest man to win the World Championships gold medal in Daegu, South Korea when Bolt was disqualified, nor Dexter Lee, the only man to win back-to-back World Under-20 100m gold, have stepped up.

Bolt’s bronze at the 2017 World Championships in London was the last global sprint medal won by a Jamaican man. To now put that burden on the shoulders of Seville and Blake could be premature but there is no hiding the expectations and hopes of the Jamaican track and field fans heading into ‘Trials’.

Aside from Seville and Blake there isn’t much in Jamaican male sprinting to get excited about but hope springs eternal that, come this weekend, we will see others stepping up — even if only to get a decent sprint relay pool that can challenge for a medal.

Yohan Blake is now the ‘elder statesman’ and has run just two legal sub-10-second 100m races over the last two years. He also failed to get into the final at the Olympic Games last year.

After that the cupboard is far from stocked, and it might take a few more years before Jamaica has serious challengers for global medals in the men’s 100m.

— Paul A Reid

Jamaica’s Ackeem Blake (Photo: Dwayne Richards)

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