x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Yohan Blake aims to upstage Usain Bolt at Brussels

Though he will not face teammate at the Diamond League meet, Blake says he will try to surprise Bolt by setting a world record in the 200m.

Yohan Blake, left, took a backseat to his teammate, Usain Bolt, at the London 2012 Olympics, but the Jamaican hopes to upstage him at Brussels in the Diamond League meet.
Yohan Blake, left, took a backseat to his teammate, Usain Bolt, at the London 2012 Olympics, but the Jamaican hopes to upstage him at Brussels in the Diamond League meet.

BRUSSELS // Yohan Blake has the chance to upstage Usain Bolt at the Van Damme Memorial tonight after running in the shadow of his countryman at the London Olympics, even though the two Jamaicans will not race each other.

Blake is returning to race the 200 metres at the King Baudouin Stadium, one year after stunning everyone, Bolt included, by running the second-fastest time in history.

After beating Blake in the 100m and 200m in London, the three-time Olympic champion Bolt will take centre stage again in the 100m.

Blake says he is fit and eager to beat the 19.26 seconds he ran last year and the fickle weather should cooperate, with balmy temperatures and clear skies predicted in what would be perfect conditions for sprinting.

"I kept my body in good condition for this moment to finish the season on a high," he said of the last Diamond League meeting of the year.

Bolt's world record in the 200m stands at 19.19 seconds in his favourite event, but Blake said he is improving at the half-lap race.

"My 200 metres is getting much, much better," Blake said.

"I feel like I just started, in a way."

Help may also be offered by one of the best stadiums for the race.

The 50,000-capacity venue is unexceptional in many ways but it has some of the widest corners on the circuit. Three of the top-10 times were set in Brussels.

Cut out the Olympics and world championships when the top stars always peak, and three of the four fastest times at the distance were set at King Baudouin.

That makes Blake's race all the more alluring.

After the Olympics, Blake became the second-fastest man in history in the 100m when he clocked 9.69 seconds in Lausanne, Switzerland, underscoring his form ahead of tonight's race. Bolt's world record is 9.58.

There will be overall winners in 15 events at the 14th Diamond League meeting this season.

Already leading, and with Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell not competing, Bolt has a lock on the diamond trophy in the 100m.

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