Jamaican sprinter Johan Blake in Brisbane.
Jamaican sprinter Johan Blake in Brisbane.

Blake ready for Games lift-off on the Gold Coast

JAMAICAN sprint star Yohan Blake remembers the day he ran the second fastest 100m time in history as like being "a plane taking off''.

Blake and countrywoman Elaine Thompson, the 2016 Olympic women's sprint double champion, are the biggest names down to race at tonight's Queensland International Track Classic in Brisbane.

Blake, the 2011 world 100m champion and dual Olympic sprint silver medallist, fizzles with enthusiasm about how fast he and his coach Glen Mills think he is capable of running at next month's Commonwealth Games.

Blake, the world 100m champion of 2011, clocked a 9.69 sec 100m in 2012 which has been bettered only by Usain Bolt, his retired countryman who holds the world record at 9.58.

The 28-year-old Jamaican was ranked second on 100m times last year, with his 9.90 season-best bettered only American Christian Coleman (9.82), and he placed fourth behind Justin Gatlin in the 100m world titles final.

"I think I could have done better,'' he said. "It will be a better year, this one.

"I was untouchable (in the 9.69 race). It was a plane taking off.

"My coach wants me to get back there. I'm doing some good work in training and my cadence is coming back.

"I'm looking forward to that night in the final in Australia.

"I don't have a Commonwealth medal. It's very important for me to have one in my trophy case.''

Yohan Blake at the
Yohan Blake at the

The 28-year-old, who has trained at Runaway Bay since arriving from Jamaica 10 days ago, took two silver medals behind Bolt in the 100m and 200m at the 2012 London Olympics and joined him in gold-medal 4x100m relay teams in 2012 and 2016.

Fellow Jamaican Julian Forte has a 100m personal best of 9.91, run in Berlin last year.

"Usain Bolt has left his legacy for us to carry on and that's what we want to do,'' Blake said.

Thompson and England's Dina Asher-Smith headline a strong 200m to close the program in which interest will also centre on whether the fast improving 17-year-old Riley Day can bring down her 22.97 personal best in her last pre-Games race.

(l-r) Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, Nickel Ashmeade, Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt celebrate after winning the gold medal in the Men’s 4 x 100m Relay Final at the Rio Olympics.
(l-r) Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, Nickel Ashmeade, Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt celebrate after winning the gold medal in the Men’s 4 x 100m Relay Final at the Rio Olympics.

Other Queenslanders in action tonight include Brittany McGowan in the 1500m and dual Games field events selection Matthew Denny in the discus, six days after his personal-best hammer throw at the SAF.

Day, who turns 18 on Friday, was this week also selected to run in the 100m and 200m for Australia in the world under-20 championships in Finland in July.

Day's best friend Ella Connolly, who could not muster a Games selection campaign due to a hamstring injury, was named for the 400m in Finland along with Sydney's Games 400m representative Bendere Oboya.



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