Yohan Blake beaten by South African duo at 2018 Commonwealth Games
Jamaica’s Yohan Blake failed to light up the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast as he finished behind South Africa’s Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies in the men’s 100m final at the 2018 Commonwealth Gamesother sports Updated: Apr 09, 2018 21:45 IST
Who after Usain Bolt? That’s the question that is being asked repeatedly since the Jamaican world record holder and multiple-time Olympic and World Championship winner quit the sport last year.
That was also the question put to Sebastian Coe when he came visiting at the Commonwealth Games just before the athletics competition started. He spoke about Yohan Blake, he talked about a number of exciting youngsters who are coming up. But will one of them will take over the massive void that Bolt left behind him? Going by what happened at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on Monday, there’s no chance of such a thing happening anytime in the near future.
Yohan Blake was touted to come out of the shadows of Usain Bolt now that his compatriot has quit. And the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast provided him a good chance to start that process. The competition at the Commonwealth Games is nothing as compared to the races that Blake has run in the company of his compatriots like Bolt and Powell. So, he was expected to blaze through it.
However, in a big surprise, the Jamaican superstar was stunned by two virtually unknown South Africans, Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies, who finished 1-2 in 10.03 and 10.17 seconds, respectively. Both of them got good starts took the lead halfway through. Blake was hampered by the start and then could not build on the momentum and had to be satisfied with third place.
Blake, who was supposed to break the 10-second barrier here, managed a pedestrian 10.19 seconds by his own standards and was hugely disappointing – for himself and the 30,000 fans that had filled the Carrara Stadium to watch him race at the Commonwealth Games for the first time.
He did not set the stage alight, though Blake was the fastest to qualify in10.06 and said later that he had no problems and was actually in good shape. “I am a bit disappointed actually.
“I was stumbling all the way and I didn’t recover from it. I’ve been feeling good and it was not to happen today. I didn’t get the start and I was all over the place. I couldn’t recover from it.
“I couldn’t catch the field as I wanted to. I was supposed to take this (race) very easily because I was ready and feeling good. It was just never meant to be I guess.”
Asked whether he underrated his opponents, Blake said may be he took it too easy. “I was supposed to get it easily, so (maybe) I was too confident and overthought it.”
The inevitable question of Bolt did crop up as he was asked whether his great rival’s absence is affecting them all because of the lack of stiff competition, Blake said he is not thinking of such things. “It is racing and sometime you take (a) while to get back to get where you are. I am just trying to be focussed and trying to concentrate on my things,” he said.
Blake said he would be going back to his base and get back to training for the season. “I will just go back and fix my starts. I know I am in great shape,” he added.
He was right on that count. He did look in great shape and was hoping to get back into gold winning mode. He has been hampered by injuries and had missed a large part of the season.
The bronze medal was no consolation for Blake as well as his fans but then the Jamaican stars have always given the Commonwealth Games the short shrift. Usain Bolt only participated in one edition and that too in the 4x100 relay.
At least Blake did make an appearance here and now have a bronze medal to show for his efforts in Gold Coast.
First Published: Apr 09, 2018 20:32 IST