| Usain Bolt |
London: Usain Bolt now knows that Yohan Blake is the ‘Beast’ who means business over 100m.
He was doing his best to still sound like the humble apprentice to Usain Bolt’s sorcerer but after defeating the sprinting wizard twice in just three days at the Jamaican Olympic trials in Kingston, it does not wash any more. The ‘Beast’ that is Yohan Blake is now in pole position for gold at London 2012.
After handing Bolt his first defeat at 200 metres in five years, just 48 hours after hammering him over 100m, Blake seemed to know his place, insisting modestly that his training partner had not been 100 per cent right and thanking Bolt for his encouragement during practice.
Yet while he was playing the role of surprised understudy away from the track, on it he was demonstrating to the sports world one simple fact: that if Bolt is anything less than fit, flying and off to electric starts, then his bid to become the first man to successfully defend both 100m and 200m titles at an Olympics will be buried by the driven figure he sees improving every day at training on the University of West Indies track in Kingston.
Last weekend Bolt did not look quite right, and questions about his race fitness were also bound to be raised as he needed medical treatment on the track after the finish on Sunday.
It was a sight guaranteed to encourage not only Blake.
The weekend’s sensations in Kingston will have the vultures circling, ready to feed off the growing suspicion that Bo-lt, after his injury-riddled 2010 and false start in the 2011 wo-rld 100m final, is still not quite in his extra-terrestrial 2009 shape when he set his world records of 9.58sec for 100m and 19.19sec for 200m in Berlin.
Yet surely nobody can be gnawing away at Bolt’s psyche quite like Blake, the 22 year-old identified by the champion some three years ago as the boy who would one day challenge him for his crown, the kid he nicknamed the “Beast” because of his workaholic appetite for training.
Blake won the world 100m title last year but it felt as if it was by default as Bolt false-started and was disqualified.
Bolt clocked 19.83sec to Blake’s 19.80sec, so that Blake now owns the fastest times at both events this year.
Afterwards, Bolt was trying to put a brave face on the losses, shrugging that he had run an “awful turn” because he had been concentrating more on 100m recently and that “three weeks should be enough time to get back into shape”.
Yet, more pertinent was his revelation that “I think I am a bit weak”.
This is not the time for weakness, especially when the steely Blake is getting quicker by the race.
“Congratulations, good run, you won. You’re the better man on the day,” he was told by Bolt afterwards, to which Blake responded with thanks because the master sprinter, he reckoned, had always been generous enough to offer him support.
Glen Mills, the pair’s coach, said earlier this year that he did not believe either of his protégés gained an advantage through training with the other but the suspicion remains that Bolt may have been too accommodating.
Has he helped create the beast which could now devour him?