Mumbai, Yohan Blake will turn his attention to India after running what he said will be his last Olympic race in Tokyo next year. The ace Jamaican sprinter was in Mumbai to promote the Road Safety World Series which begins in February next year.
“Not just only Mumbai, I’m targeting Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Kolkata. These are the cities we are going to draw talent from and we are going to do it in stages after the Olympics. Two weeks after the Olympics I am coming to India and we are going to do that,” Blake told reporters.
When asked about Hima Das, whose injuries over the past year has put a big question mark on her chances to qualify for Tokyo 2020, Blake said that he is confident she will come back stronger. He said that he wants Indian athletes to believe in themselves more and work harder.
“I met her in Australia, during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. I spoke to her, a very good person. I’m sure she will come back stronger.
“I just feel that they should believe in themselves more, That’s one of the things I want to do once I come here, spread awareness about believing in themselves more and work harder. I work day and night to stay at the top. You have to work three times as hard as me and that’s what I am after.”
Tokyo 2020 will be the 29-year-old’s third and last Olympics while being his first without track and field legend Usain Bolt in the Jamaican contingent. Blake’s exit could mark the end of a generation of great Jamaican male sprinters which included the likes of Bolt and Asafa Powell among others. He admitted that the upcoming generation probably lacks the motivation that they had.
“There is more (young talent in Jamaica) but I don’t think they are motivated as we were before. Usain brought a different level of athletics to Jamaica and to the world. I always followed in his footsteps and it even started from Asafa. The females are still doing well but I think I have to be taking up the mantle as there is no one in Jamaica who is sprinting like me,” he said.
Blake added that he would probably have been remembered as the best sprinter in the world had it not been for his illustrious compatriot.
“I would be the fastest man in everything. I feel like I was born in a wrong time. But nevertheless I am happy with what I have achieved. It would be hard to top Usain because it was his time and it was hard to compete against him. The first time I beat him in Kingston, I had to work day and night to do it.”
Blake said that doping is affecting track and field to the point that it is starting to drive away sponsors. “Doping is a big part of it, that’s why you have lot of sponsors stepping away from the sport. I think it is a big problem,” he said.
However, Blake said that punishments should be in alignment to the level of the offence. “I think if it serious, then they should be banned for life. But if its a minor offence, they probably shouldn’t get one year or six months because, its your life, your career and it is what they do,” he said.