Jamaica`s `Beast` Blake considers increasing workload

Jamaican 100 metres world champion Yohan Blake, nicknamed "The Beast" because of his prodigious training regime, is considering increasing his workload so he can bid for four gold medals in the London Olympics.

"If I`m in shape, why not?" Blake said on Tuesday in a telephone interview when asked if he would add the 4x400 relay to the 4x100, 100 and 200 metre races he is expected to contest. "I love the 4x400 and I wouldn`t mind running that for Jamaica."

Called "The Beast" by friend and training partner Usain Bolt, the 22-year-old`s race schedule is being kept light given the heavy work ahead for Jamaica`s Olympic trials in June and the grand stage in London.

Blake, who ran a personal best of 46.49 seconds in the 400 at a Kingston meet last month, has no plans to race in Europe ahead of the trials and the only other event on his schedule is the New York City grand prix in June.

"Coach (Glen) Mills says you don`t have to run that much leading up to the Olympics, and he knows what to do," said Blake. "He says I`ll be taken off the shelf, but if he calls on me, I`ll be ready."

Training with Bolt, a triple Olympic champion and world record holder in the 100 and 200, has helped Blake`s rapid development.

"Usain Bolt pushes me a lot in training," said Blake, who is working on getting a faster start and opening 30 meters in the 100, work that would also pay off in the 200. "When he takes one stride, I have to take two. That helps me a lot. I have to run even faster in training to keep up with his speed."

Blake became the youngest world 100 metres champion last year with a personal best 9.82 in Daegu, South Korea, and closed the season in Brussels with the second fastest 200 of all time, clocking 19.26, just seven-hundredths of a second slower than Bolt`s world record.

"When I get Christmas break I still train. And coach Mills calls me and says `you take it easy`," said Blake. "When guys are sleeping at night, I`m still working. That`s why they call me the Beast.

"I do different kinds of work, also mental preparation. Sometimes when you get on the (starting) line, nervousness is there. I try to train myself out of that."

Blake said his triumph in South Korea opened a lot of doors, mentioning an enjoyable morning spent with Britain`s Prince Harry, who is touring the Caribbean, and earlier in the day ran a fun race with Bolt before signing T-shirts for local children.

"He`s a funny guy and a cool person to talk to," said Blake, who runs the YB Afraid Foundation to help neglected children. "I had a fun morning with him."

Bureau Report