World champion Blake opens season with lifetime best

By Kayon Raynor

KINGSTON, Feb 11 - Jamaican world 100 meters champion Yohan Blake opened his 2012 Olympic season with a lifetime best of 46.49 seconds to finish second in the 400 meters at the Camperdown Classic Saturday.

He was passed in the last 10 meters by world 4x400 relay bronze medalist Allodin Fothergill who won in 46.28 seconds.

"It's a wonderful feeling because as you can see I ran a personal best, so the season is going quite well," Blake told Reuters. "I am much stronger this year and also much faster, running 46.4 in my first outing is wonderful.

"If I have one more (400m) I think I can go faster," said the 22-year-old who set lifetime bests of 9.82 and 19.26 seconds at 100 and 200 meters in a breakthrough 2011 season.

Training partner Bolt originally was scheduled to compete in the meeting, but is away on business this week, according to both his agent and his coach.

"Bolt is not injured," Glen Mills, who coaches both Bolt and Blake, said. "He trained up to the day before he left the island for his business trip."

No date has been set for Bolt's first race of the season.

Blake expects to run the 100 or 200 meters at the Jamaica International Invitational on May 5, but is still unsure whether he will attempt the sprint double at the country's trials for the London Olympics.

"I would love to double, but coach Mills (may have) something else in store for me. I don't know what his plan is yet, so I'm just waiting on that," Blake said.

"Usain Bolt is my training partner, we encourage each other everyday, we have a wonderful chemistry going on but when we are on the track, its all business."

Blake will run two to three races before Jamaica's Olympic trials from June 28-July 1 in Kingston, agent Cubie Seegobin said.

"We have not decided where we are going to run, were looking at all our options," Seegobin said.

"When coach Mills decides that he's ready to run and what event, then we'll decide."

(Editing by Gene Cherry and Greg Stutchbury)