GOLD COAST, Australia, Apr 8 – Yohan Blake stormed into Monday’s Commonwealth Games 100 metres final spurred by a message from Usain Bolt, who told his fellow Jamaican: “You’ve got to win.”
Blake clocked 10.06sec to qualify quickest and he did it with ease, looking across twice at a fast-closing Adam Gemili of England in his semi-final on Sunday.
The 28-year-old former world champion, nicknamed “The Beast”, is the star competitor at Australia’s Gold Coast after the retirement of Bolt, who was expected to make an appearance in the coming days.
Blake said he was looking to go below 10 seconds in the final, after qualifying top ahead of Kemar Hyman of the Cayman Islands and Gemili.
“This is not a good time for me this season but I want to make it very special for Australia and I came here and I feel good. Tomorrow I’ll go out there and do the job,” said Blake.
“There’s always a lot more in the tank,” added the two-time Olympic relay gold medallist. “I’ll speak to my coach, see what he says and tomorrow I’ll come and lay it down.”
Blake owns the joint second-fastest 100m in history, behind Bolt, after his 9.69 in 2012, but much of his career has been overshadowed by the eight-time Olympic champion.
However, the two remain close and Blake said he had received a touching message from Bolt, who contacted him to say: “I believe in you.”
“Usain’s good… he wants me to keep it basic, don’t think too much, just hold your head and get the job done,” added Blake.
“Usain told me, ‘Yohan, you’ve got to win or else you can’t go back home.”
England’s Asha Philip was fastest into the women’s 100m final with 11.21, followed by Christania Williams of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye.