Yohan Blake served notice he will be ready to challenge for the Olympic 100m title, upstaging world record holder Usain Bolt to win in 9.75 seconds at the Jamaican Olympic Athletic Trials on Friday.
Just one month before the start of the London Games, Blake became the fourth-fastest man ever in the event as he ran a personal best and the fastest time in the world this year with a legal wind of +1.1m/sec.
“Coach [Glen] Mills told me I can do it and I believed,” an elated Blake said after Friday’s victory. “The Olympics is the focus right now.”
Bolt, the reigning Olympic champion, was second in 9.86 seconds after a poor start and Asafa Powell snatched the third and final Olympic spot with a time of 9.88 seconds in a star-studded final.
“He’s a class runner without a doubt and I have said it over the years that he is one of the best. So for me, it’s just one of those things,” Bolt said of Blake.
Blake was not the only 100m hero on Friday at the National Stadium as Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce clocked a world leading 10.70 seconds to beat Veronica Campbell-Brown (10.82) and Kerron Stewart (10.94).
“This is the first hurdle and I crossed it and I am just looking forward to the Olympics,” Fraser-Pryce said.
Bolt said he was distracted in the blocks and it affected his start.
“In the finals, Nesta [Carter] moved beside me and when the gun went, I was not focused,” Bolt said.
“It is kinda hard to run down people like Asafa and Blake with his top end speed, but for me to get left in the blocks like that is really bad. In the semis again, the guy next to me moved and it threw me off. It is kinda hard to ignore them, so when they move, it’s gonna throw me off a little bit. When I get left it is hard,” he said.
Bolt said his mechanics were off as he made a final push to catch Blake.
“Overall, from 60m, the race was good, but the last part, my shoulder went up, so it kinda slowed me down,” he said.
In August last year in Daegu, South Korea, Blake became the world champion in the 100m after Bolt was eliminated because of a false start.
The two sprinters are both coached by Mills.
AFP, EUGENE, OREGON
Sanya Richards-Ross moved closer to a London Olympics 200m and 400m double, while injured sprinter Walter Dix lost a chance for a sprint medal repeat at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials on Friday.
Richards-Ross ran this year’s world second-best time of 22.15 to lead eight finalists into a women’s 200m showdown that also features 2004 and 2008 Olympic runner-up Allyson Felix, world 100m champion Carmelita Jeter and Jeneba Tarmoh.
“This is going to be the hardest sprint spot to make,” Richards-Ross said. “You can run a great race tomorrow and come anywhere from first to sixth. It will take 22 flat, maybe even 21 to win it.”
Jamaican-born Richards-Ross, who became a US citizen in 2002, ran the year’s best time of 22.09 three weeks ago in a Diamond League triumph in New York and qualified on Sunday last week for London by winning the trials 400m in 49.28 seconds.
“My body felt good,” Richards-Ross said of her semi-final sprint. “I wanted to win, so I got a good lane for the final. I’m happy I did that. I was really pleased to see that time. I hope I run faster tomorrow.”
Felix and Tarmoh, training partners coached by Bob Kersee, won their heats in identical times of 22.30 six days after finishing in a still-unresolved dead heat for third place, and the final London berth, in the 100m.