Jamaica’s Yohan Blake is the sprinter most likely to cause an upset and spoil Usain Bolt’s party at the London Olympics in July. After all, Blake won the 100 metres at the World Championships last summer. Okay, Bolt was disqualified for a false start and it’s likely he would have beaten his Jamaican compatriot who is also his training partner, but sport is littered with surprise results. Blake is no slouch and a year on he is faster and stronger than ever.
Cayman sports lovers get a unique chance to see Blake in action soon when the world’s No.1 ranked sprinter in the 100m competes in the inaugural Cayman Invitational at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on 9 May.
Put together by Cayman’s ace sprinter Cydonie Mothersill who will compete in the 200m and is already booked for her fifth Olympics, other Caymanians slotted in for the meet so far are fellow Olympians Ronald Forbes in the 110m hurdles and Kemar Hyman in the 100m, plus the Morgan twins, Carl and Carlos in the long jump.
In winning the 100m at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Blake became the youngest 100m champion in World Championship history, aged 21. After the World Championships he set a personal best 100m of 9.82 seconds. Bolt is the world record holder with 9.58secs.
The duel between the two pals at the London Olympics will be the most anticipated race there.
Blake also ran more races under 10 seconds last year than any other sprinter and ended his season in astonishing fashion by securing the fastest 200m time in the world – and second fastest in history – 19.26 seconds.
The meet will feature over 80 athletes in 11 track and two field events – shot put and long jump. Mothersill is expecting a packed house and in an attempt to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to share in the excitement, ticket prices are reasonable and available at easily accessible locations. Seating for finish line area tickets are $35 (adults and children) and general seating at the TE McField Grandstand is $30 (adults) and $12 (children under 12). Mackie Seymour Stadium seating is $20 (adults) and $10 (children under 12).
Tickets are available at all LIME retail store locations, Funky Tangs and JN Money Transfer.
The line up includes other Olympic and world champions like American sprinter Carmalita Jeter, ranked No.1 in the world last year, Dylan Armstrong, whose career highlights include being the Canadian record holder and current world No.1 in shot put, Novlene Williams-Mills, the Jamaican women’s 400m two time world champion, Michael Frater, member of the Jamaican 4x100m world record breaking team and Bahamian Olympic medallist Chris Brown who is currently ranked No.4 in the world in the 400m.
“With this star studded line-up competing for the first time in Cayman, we want everyone to come out and be a part of the excitement,” said Mothersill. “Jeter will race in the 100m.”
Track Technical Director Kenrick Williams said: “We are really elated to know that Cydonie is able to get a high profile athlete like Yohan Blake to be here. It’s a showcase of the Caribbean talent and also a showcase of our Caymanian talent.
“We have young Kemar Hyman who will be running against the likes of Blake and Frater. I hope this is a catalyst that will take the association to the next level and the public who are watching and have kids they will see that track and field can be a viable entity in terms of health, a career and in terms of a pro-social agent.”
Track coach Tyrone Yen said: “I don’t think we’ll have another meet like this for the rest of the year but the kids will be watching and of course will be very enthusiastic about what they’ve seen.
“Having such world class, elite athletes here and also showcasing Cydonie, Ronald and Kemar will help motivate the young athletes.”
Chantelle Morrison has for years been seen as Mothersill’s successor but since winning the CARIFTA 100m here two years ago she has rarely raced because of injury sustained in a 200m heat at that meet. But she is fully fit now and almost as sharp as ever.
Yen added: “We are getting her ready for the Junior World Championships in Barcelona in July. She’s been training very well and hopefully things will be okay for her. One of her first meets this year will be the BAYTAF Classic in Tampa on 25-28 May.
“Hopefully, we can have the opportunity to see her race there and see what kind of condition she’s in.”
Minister of Sports Mark Scotland said: “It is very exciting as you hear the addition of names who will be competing as the time approaches. We saw that Blake will be running. Just that name alone will help fill the stands.
“The organisers are putting together a very good meet, supported by government in a huge way. The government is the title sponsor for the event along with the DART group so we’re looking forward to it and hope that the public comes out and supports it.
“We also hope that it will be a good encourager for our youngsters to continue on. I imagine that ticket sales are going very well as the big names get announced. These guys are on their way to London so May being so close to the Games they are at their peak now getting ready for the Olympics.”