MUMBAI: Yohan Blake played second fiddle to Usain Bolt all his life. If he clocked 9.69 seconds over 100ms, Bolt timed 9.58. If Blake ran 200m in 19.26, Bolt went a shade faster at 19.19.
But the 29-year-old is looking to emerge from the shadow and go for gold at the Tokyo Olympics, where he won’t have to contend with the retired legend anymore. At an event in Mumbai to promote awareness on road safety, Blake spoke about his sport, career, country and his famous countryman...
Do you think you are the favourite for 2020, in the 100 and 200m races?
I’m always the favourite. I’m the second fastest man in the universe. Everyone has to look up to me. There are good guys coming up. I’ll be looking forward to the challenge. It is going to be my last Olympics and I am going for gold. I have got so much medals in the past, this will put the icing on the cake, for me at this Olympics in Tokyo.
How much has athletics changed in the last two years? What do you make of IAAF’s decision to drop 200m from Diamond League?
It has changed a lot. The times we are running have slowed down. Track and field is dying a little. If he (IAAF president Sebastian Coe) can take away the 200 and triple jump, I don’t know if he is trying to build it (track and field) or trying to kill athletics. It is just madness.
You have lived under Usain Bolt’s shadow…
If you take Usain out of the picture, I’d be the fastest man. I feel I was born in the wrong time. Nevertheless, I am still proud of what I’ve achieved. It was Usain’s time. I was competing against a giant. I have to work day and night. When I beat him in Kingston (2012 Olympics trials), I worked day and night. I should have won in London (Olympics), but there were things going on behind the scenes which I won’t say.
Do Jamaican sprinters have an edge?
In Jamaica, there is poverty. That’s where most of the sprinters come from. We use that as a way to come out of it and we work incredibly hard. I have a saying, ‘While you are sleeping, I’m working.’ I work day, night, and day again. You have to work harder to beat me.
What are your memories of the 4x100m relay at 2017 Worlds, Bolt’s last race?
He was hardly training and partying a lot. He just didn’t feel the urge, as it was his last race. He said to me I am just going to have fun. Everybody goes to win, he just wanted a medal. He was feeling his hamstring during the relay. When I came around the corner to give him the baton, I knew he was not going to make it. I was very emotional at that time, for him to end his career on a bad note.