Sun | Apr 21, 2019

Blake positive despite coaching change

Published:Friday | January 11, 2019 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Patrons of the Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run 2019 Yohan Blake, the 2011 World 100 metres champion, and Stacey McKenzie, international supermodel, at the official launch of the event at The Pegasus hotel on Wednesday.
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Four-time Olympic medallist Yohan Blake is no longer being guided by veteran coach Glen Mills, but the 29-year-old said that he is in excellent shape entering this year's track and field season.

Blake, who is now being conditioned by Racers Track Club Technical Director Patrick Dawson, following a falling-out with Racers founder and head coach, Mills, noted that he has fully recovered from the hamstring injury that has affected him over the past few seasons.

The Gleaner yesterday reported that Mills, who had coached Blake since he turned pro in 2009, had severed ties with the 2011 World Championships 100m champion after a recent "disagreement" and that Racers lieutenant Dawson would take over the coaching duties for the sprinter.

"That is correct. I do not coach him anymore," Mills confirmed without going into details. "We have had our differences, and I decided that I am not going to undertake his coaching anymore, and he has sought the services of coach Dawson."

Blake, the second-fastest man in history in both the 100m and 200m events with times of 9.69 seconds and 19.26 seconds, respectively, is looking forward to the upcoming season and reports that he is already in good shape.

"My body is great because my body hasn't felt like this since 2012 and so I am feeling really good," said Blake. "I just want to be injury free, and the sky is the limit because I am right there. I am not far off."

Blake suffered an injury at the Continental Cup in Ostrava in September after a season that saw him clock a best of 9.94 seconds and finish a somewhat disappointing third in the final at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

"[The year] 2018 wasn't bad because I used it as a platform to get back my confidence and everything," Blake reasoned. "I am in training right now, and I feel very good, and I just want to keep it like that, with no injuries."

"I have some 400m in mind, but I am not sure what my coach has in mind yet, and so I am just waiting to see what Patrick Dawson has in store for me," said Blake.

Dawson, who has led the IAAF's Technical Centre in Kingston, has also coached the likes of Zharnel Hughes, the current European 100m champion, Jevaughn Minzie, and Kenroy Anderson.

Under the new arrangement with Blake, Dawson will execute Mills' programme for the sprinter at the club's University of the West Indies (UWI)/Usain Bolt Track in Mona.