Blake looks to turn heat on Bolt as Olympics loom

Reigning world 100-metres champion Yohan Blake, pictured in 2011, of Jamaica said Tuesday he was focusing on getting a faster start in his bid to relieve compatriot and training partner Usain Bolt of his Olympic 100 metres title later this year

Reigning world 100-metres champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica said Tuesday he was focusing on getting a faster start in his bid to relieve compatriot and training partner Usain Bolt of his Olympic 100 metres title later this year.

The 22-year-old was speaking from his Jamaica base as he prepares for a hectic season.

"Nothing really different we do in training. One thing I'm trying to work on is my start and the technical details. Basically I've been working on that and trying to get off to a better start for the first 30 metres.

"I want to work on the first 30 metres and get my start right. I can improve on my first 30 metres. The rest of my race is wonderful but that I need to work on for the Olympics. All of that is going to come into play for the Olympics.

Blake became the youngest 100m world champion last year at Daegu, South Korea, but his victory in the final lost some of its lustre after Bolt false started out of the race.

"His false start was a big shocker," Blake said. "It did not change anything really. I was really ready. (Winning the world title) has meant a lot to me. It has opened a lot of doors."

That included a Tuesday morning meeting with England's Prince Harry.

"He's a funny guy," Blake said. "He was a good person to talk too. It meant a lot to meet him."

Blake figures the Jamaican Olympic trials 100m final in June will be a strong preparation for the Olympic sprint showdown.

"A lot of the guys are running really fast. A lot of them are going to be in the Olympics 100m final," Blake said. "Asafa Powell, me, Usain Bolt, I think it's going to be a tough one in June.

"Last year I was the one doing the chasing. You win and all these guys want a piece of you the next time. Basically it's everybody."

Training with Jamaican's finest runners has removed some of the nervousness and awe from sharing a starting line with them, Blake said.

"I run with these guys all the time," Blake said. "At the starting line, I know these guys are human so I don't really feel so nervous.

"Daegu gave me a lot of belief. But even before Daegu my training gave me a lot of belief to be where I am right now. I ran with these guys. I know what they can do."

That includes Bolt, who looks to defend his 100 and 200 Olympic gold medals from Beijing.

"Usain Bolt pushed me a lot in training," Blake said. "That has helped me run even faster to keep up with his speed. That helped me a lot to train for the Olympics."

Bolt even tagged Blake with a nickname, the Beast.

"I work twice as hard as anybody else. That's why they call me the Beast," Blake said. "When I get Christmas break I still train. Coach Mills has to call me and tell me I'm on a break and to stop working. When you guys are sleeping I'm out there working."

Blake knows his world title has raised expectations but said he can handle that.

"I'm carrying a lot of weight on my shoulders," he said. "I know what's on my shoulders to carry. I think it's going to be a good year I'm going to have this year."

Blake has concentrated on the 100 this year even though he considers the 200 his stronger race and said he would not mind running the 4x400 relay at London if the opportunity came his way.

"This year I'm really focusing on the 100," Blake said. "In the 200 you can make a mistake and recover. In the 100 there's no room for mistakes. You have to have 200 percent confidence in the 100 meters. One mistake and you are out.

"The 200 I just need to get out of the blocks much faster and keep doing what I'm doing in the straightaway. If I really push myself more at the turn, I think I could run a good time in the 200."

Bolt has joked that Blake will take the 100 and Bolt will win the 200 at the London Olympics in a repeat of their world meet runs.

"I don't want to beat Usain Bolt. I want to win the gold medal in the 100 and 200," Blake said.