Yohan Blake clocks fastest ever 100m run in Ireland
Jamaican sprinter sets Santry alight as he comes home in 10.12
Jamaica’s Yohan Blake (centre) on the way to winning the Aon Men’s International 100m in Santry. His time of 10.12 is the fastest ever run in Ireland. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
It wasn’t the sub-10 seconds that many had hoped for either but, in clocking 10.12 seconds, Blake still set the track alight, winning in suitable style from fellow Jamaicans Michael Frater and Mario Forsythe.
For Blake – still the joint-second fastest man on the planet – coming to the Morton Games was all part of a comeback aimed at getting him back to his best for next year’s Rio Olympics. The large crowd certainly appreciated his effort and presence, and the feeling was mutual.
“It’s wonderful to be here, on a really nice track, with a really nice welcome,” said Blake. “I was hoping to run nine-something here, but there are still some technical problems with my running, which I’m working on. But I’m feeling good, building up again for next year.”
Three years ago, at the London Olympics, Blake finished second to Usain Bolt in the both 100m and 200m – and a few weeks later, ran 9.69: only Bolt himself has run quicker, with his world record of 9.58.
A series of injuries has slowed Blake down in the three years since although, still only 25, he is far from past his peak.
He certainly had enough to handle Frater (10.27) and Forsythe (10.30) and inspired Ireland’s fastest schoolboy, Marcus Lawlor, to equal his personal best, clocking 10.47 in fourth, as he continues to make progress in the senior ranks.
It was dull and cool although, with the benefit of a tailwind (+1.4), it wasn’t the worst of sprinting conditions – and Blake’s time improved the Irish all-comers record of 10.17, which had stood since 1988 when Britain’s Linford Christie and Dennis Mitchell from the US both clocked the same time at the Mary Peters track in Belfast.
Blake has failed to make the Jamaican team for next month’s World Championships in Beijing (he won the 2011 World title, after Bolt false-started), although among the Irish athletes still looking to book their ticket to Beijing here was Kelly Proper, targeting the qualifying time of 23.20 seconds in the women’s 200m. Despite setting the track alight herself, her winning time of 23.54 seconds fell short.
Thomas Barr withdrew from the 400m hurdles with a “very minor” hip injury, and is still set to compete at the London Diamond League on Saturday afternoon. His qualification for Beijing is already in the bag.
The two feature mile races were also suitably swift, UCD student Ciara Mageean displaying great determination to win the women’s race in 4:30.65, while Jeff Riseley from Australia timed his finish to perfection to win the men’s race in 3:57.09. Karl Griffin was also among the Irish winners on the night, winning the 800m in 1:47.47.