Paris – Yohan Blake is the new kid on the block, the pretender ready for a tenacious bid to usurp training partner Usain Bolt from his lofty pedestal as the world's greatest sprinter.
The Olympics in London are the perfect setting for an intra-Jamaican duel of epic proportions, with Bolt defending his 100 and 200m sprint titles from the 2008 Beijing Games.
Blake's run-off against Bolt in last year's World Championships in Daegu was a washout, the latter sensationally disqualified from the final after false starting, leaving Blake a clear run to the gold medal.
Winning the title at the age of 21 years 245 days made the now 22-year-old the youngest ever winner of the world 100m.
This year, Blake and Bolt avoided each other until they could no longer, lining up for a battle royale at the Jamaican Olympic trials.
And Blake pulled off what many observers had long been predicting would happen: he trumped the towering Bolt in both the 100 and 200m to send an almighty tremor through the world of athletics just weeks before the start of the London Games.
The 22-year-old Blake, standing 5ft 11in (1.80m) and weighing 78kg, set two world leads of 9.75 and 19.80sec in the two events and promised that there is more to come.
“It's not over. I still have the Olympics to go. I just wanted to keep performing and keep going,” said Blake, born on December 26, 1989, in St James.
Blake's 100m personal best of 9.75sec makes him the fourth fastest man ever, after Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell.
His personal best for the 200m of 19.26sec is the second fastest ever after Bolt, who holds the world record of 19.19sec.
“I have been working hard and am seeing it paying off now,” Blake said after the Jamaican trials.
“I was not surprised by the big win. I know what Bolt has to offer and I know he was not at 100 percent. I just tried to keep my form.”
Alongside Bolt and other Jamaican teammates in Daegu, Blake won the 4x100m relay final in a new world record time of 37.04sec.
Blake, who received a three-month ban in 2009 for taking a drug that had a similar chemical structure to the banned tuaminoheptane, will now have to put aside thoughts of that team spirit and racing against a training partner as he eyes potential glory in London. – Sapa-AFP