STETHS’ Blake feels no pressure for Champs
St Elizabeth Technical High School's (STETHS) Shamer Blake is looking to go all the way this year and capture the Class I boys' 400 metres hurdles after disappointingly failing to finish the event at last year's ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships (Champs).
Blake was on target to win a medal last year after finishing second in his semifinals in 51.67 seconds but an injury interrupted his plans in the final, and he will be seeking to stamp his class in the event this year, with record holder Roshawn Clarke and Rayon Campbell not there.
He started his season with a bang by showing his intent early as he won the PureWater/JC/Danny Williams opening meet in January in 52.35 seconds. Turning 18 on Monday, he has maintained good form so far this season, and at the recent Youngster Goldsmith Classics inside the National Stadium, he won his heat in 52.46 seconds.
The time broke the 52.50 seconds record by Calabar hurdler Anthony Danvers in 2019 but lasted a few minutes, as Kingston College's (KC) Antonio Forbes won his heat in 52.40 seconds to set the stage for an exciting duel for the remainder of the season.
It is a battle that existed for the past two years when Forbes won the Class II event at Champs in 51.84 seconds as Blake clocked 52.16 for seconds.
Blake, who also won the Class I boys' 110 metres hurdle in 13.66 seconds at the Youngster Goldsmith meet, is also the leader in the event and will be looking to take the double for STETHS at Champs. However, he dismissed suggestions that he would be pressured to do so.
"There is no burden for me here to win, as my training has gone well so far this season, and I am just hoping for the best. I am not happy with my time (at Youngster Goldsmith) as I wanted to run much faster but I did not get my regular run up to the hurdle," Blake stated.
Although doing well in both events, Blake prefers the longer hurdles event.
"If I make a mistake during the race, I can always fix it, while the sprint hurdle is very explosive, and it is very difficult to fix if you encounter a problem in the race," he explains.
There will be gigantic clashes for Blake in both events at Champs as in the sprint hurdle, he has St Jago High's Demarco Prince, the World Under-20 finalist to contend with. Prince did not show up for the final in the event on Saturday.
Blake was coy about his expectations for both events at Champs.
"I am working on a few things, and you guys will see," he said.