Sat | Sep 23, 2023

Blake, Prince using disasters for motivation

Published:Thursday | January 12, 2023 | 12:48 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Demario Prince in action for Jamaica at the Carifta Games in June last year at the National Stadium.
Demario Prince in action for Jamaica at the Carifta Games in June last year at the National Stadium.
Shamer Blake
Shamer Blake

HURDLERS SOMETIMES fall and it can happen at the worst possible time. If you doubt that, ask Shamer Blake or Demario Prince.

The two young hurdlers enter 2023 chasing redemption after disappointing falls last season. As fate would have it, they both hurdled flawlessly at last weekend’s Jamaica College development meet.

Blake, an imposing figure from St Elizabeth Technical High School, topped the class one 110-metre hurdles in 13.99 seconds, with Prince at 14.00 in a separate section of the event. Blake returned to smash his own meet record in the 400 hurdles, down from 53.32 last year to 52.35 seconds.

Though no one else broke 54, he remarked, “It’s not the time that I want but, yes, it’s just getting off the rust, but I will go faster as the season progresses.”

Blake tumbled in the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) 400m hurdles heat last year and he hasn’t forgotten.

“It was a great day, you know,” he said about his JC double. “I just put my mind to it and said ‘I’m not going to let what happened to me last year happen again’,” said Blake.

Disaster struck after he set a personal best, 51.67, in the Champs heats, ranking him as the second fastest qualifier for a final he didn’t finish. In 2021, he was an impressive Class Two runner-up to smooth-running Antonio Forbes of Kingston College.

Prince’s 2022 tumble came at an even worse time – the 110-metre hurdles final at the World Under 20 Championships in Cali, Colombia.

At JC, he was in fine form.

“It was a great flush out, you know. I haven’t run the 110s since last year in Cali, so I just came out her to see where I’m at and I think my coaches will see where I’m at and will make the changes,” Prince evaluated.

Second in the high jump to Carifta champion Chavez Penn of Jamaica College, Prince is determined to make up for his Cali calamity.

“I’m kind of looking for redemption this year, seeing that that unfortunate incident happened. I’m coming to make amends this year,” he promised.

Jahvel Granville of St Jago won at Champs in his final high school season and Prince hopes to retain the title for the Monks.

“I just want to lead the team in the right way, you know, by performances. I just want to carry on the Ravensworth mentality,” said Prince.

After hurdling to the class three final in 2019 and the class two final in 2021, the versatile Prince was second in the Class one high jump and third in the long jump last year.

Blake expected to have a technical review with his coach on the way home from JC.

“I think he’s going to tell me the things I did wrong in the race, and we will work from there,” he said.

He looked so good that the review couldn’t have taken very long.