Athletics

Bolt tells Blake: Win the 100m or you can't go home

Retired sprint legend Bolt tells Jamaican sprinter Blake:

WOMEN'S & MEN'S 100M FINALS

(Today, from 7.50pm and 8.15pm, MediaCorp okto/Toggle)

Jamaica's former world champion Yohan Blake sailed into Commonwealth Games' 100m final yesterday, living up to his top billing on the opening day of the athletics on the Gold Coast.

In front of a festive crowd at Carrara Stadium, the 28-year-old qualified fastest with 10.06 seconds to raise his hopes of a maiden gold medal at the quadrennial Games in today's final.

Blake owns the joint second-fastest 100m in history, behind Usain Bolt, after his 9.69 in 2012, but much of his career has been overshadowed by the eight-time Olympic champion.

Blake hopes to claim the title as a stepping stone to restoring Jamaica's primacy in the event following Bolt's retirement last year.

He said the sprint great, his former training partner, had texted him best wishes in the morning.

"This morning he messaged me and said 'I believe in you,'" Blake told reporters at the twilight meeting.

"Yeah, just keep it basic, don't think too much into it, just look all ahead and get the job done. Because Usain told me, 'you've got to win, you've got to do your best or you can't go home'."

Sub-10 second times are a rarity on Australian soil but Blake, the third fastest man of all time behind Bolt and Tyson Gay, said he would not rule out anything despite it still being early days in the season.

"This is not a good time for me in the season, but I want to make it very special for Australia and I came here and I feel good," said Blake, who also was the quickest in the heats with 10.15 seconds.

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

"There's always a lot more in the tank. I feel good, 10.06, I am feeling comfortable, anything is possible."

Kemar Hyman of the Cayman Islands also showed himself in decent shape, qualifying second fastest for the final with 10.11 seconds ahead of England's Adam Gemili, a world championships relay gold medallist last year.

Trinidad and Tobago's Michelle-Lee Ahye, favourite to win the women's 100m, qualified third fastest (11.25) for the final behind England's Asha Philip (11.21) and Jamaican Christania Williams (11.22).

Rising Ugandan talent Joshua Cheptegei, the world silver medallist in the 10,000m last year, grabbed the 5,000m gold in 13:50.83, burning away from Canada's silver medallist Mohammed Ahmed in the final lap.

Kenya's Edward Zakayo took the bronze but Toka Badboy, the 19-year-old runner from Lesotho, was disqualified.

Glasgow silver medallist Nick Miller smashed the Games record and England's national mark with a throw of 80.26 metres to capture gold in the hammer ahead of Australian Matty Denny and Scot Mark Dry, who won bronze. - REUTERS, AFP

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