Sprinter Yohan Blake, far right, crosses the finish line ahead of world-record holder Usain Bolt, second from left, Nickel Ashmeade, center, Warren Weir, left, and Jason Young to win the 200m final at Jamaica’s Olympic trials in Kingston, Jamaica, Sunday, July 1, 2012. Blake edged Bolt by 0.03 finishing in 19.80 seconds. (AP Photo/Collin Reid)
By Steve Keating
KINGSTON, Jamaica, July 1 (Reuters) – Yohan Blake set himself up as the man to beat in London with a stunning 200 meters victory, beating world record holder Usain Bolt for a second time in three days to bring the Jamaican Olympic trials to an explosive conclusion on Sunday.
Blake, who shocked Bolt with an emphatic win in the 100m on Friday, followed it up with an even more impressive performance in the 200, catching the triple Olympic gold medalist down the stretch before holding him off in the closing meters.
The winner clocked a time 19.80 seconds to a massive roar from a frenzied crowd at the National Stadium. Bolt secured his Olympic spot by taking second in 19.83, grinning as he hugged his training partner in the finish area.
“He (Bolt) said, ‘Congratulations good run, you won,'” Blake told reporters. “‘You’re the better man on the day,’ and I just gave him thanks because he has always motivated.
“He told me coming into the race to keep calm and that’s what I did.
Warren Weir earned the third spot on the Jamaican team, taking third in 20.03.
Bolt ended the race lying flat on his back on the track grimacing in pain as medical staff rushed to his side to work on a cramped right thigh.
The lanky sprinter was quickly back on his feet accepting his defeat with grace and putting on a brave face after what had to have be an extremely trying weekend for the world’s fastest man.
If Bolt was concerned, however, he did not show it, instead looking ahead to the London Games and defending his 100 and 200m titles.
“Definitely (I have something to prove),” said Bolt. “I’m the Olympic champion so I have to show the world I am still the best.
“It’s not like I was blown away, I know what I need to do to get it right. I just have to get my stuff together.
“It’s all about putting in the work. I need to figure out what I did wrong and just work on that.”
Bolt will certainly have plenty to occupy his time in the next four weeks before he settles into the blocks in London.
His coach Glen Mills confirmed earlier in the week that Bolt was not 100 percent fit and it became obvious throughout the trials that he needs to spend time on his starts after struggling out of the blocks.
“I’m a little bit weak but I have a few more weeks to get myself back into shape,” assured Bolt. “I’m not far off, I know I can get it done, I’m not worried.
“Everyone is talking about Yohan Blake and he is proving himself as one of the greatest, but for me it is just going back to training and work on what I need to work on and get it done.
“I can never be discouraged. I’m never worried until my coach gets worried and my coach is not worried.”
Blake, who trains with Bolt, gave credit to his team mate for helping him get to the top of the podium in Kingston but the “The Beast” might not be getting too many more tips following four-days of total domination.
Bolt ends the Jamaican trials still in possession of his world records in the 100 (9.58) and 200 (19.19) but those and his Olympic titles could soon be in the hands of the powerful Blake, who heads to London bristling with confidence.
“He (Bolt) has helped me a lot in training and the mental part of the game,” said Blake. “I know Usain’s strengths and his level and he is not 100 percent so I will just keep working on my form going into the Olympics.”
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, winner of Friday’s 100m in a Jamaican record time of 10.70, also doubled up by powering her way to a convincing victory in the women’s 200m in 22.10, with Sherone Simpson a well-beaten second in 22.37.
Veronica Campbell-Brown, the 200m gold medalist in Beijing and Athens, secured the third Olympic spot clocking 22.42 and heads to London bidding to become the first athlete to claim a 200m hat-trick.