Yohan Blake stunned at Pavilion!

Updated: Dec 04, 2019, 07:48 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

No, the Jamaican ace was not beaten in competition at the Mumbai University ground, but was shocked to see the state of the turf there

Yohan Blake
Yohan Blake

Jamaica's sprint star Yohan Blake, who is in the city promote the Road Safety World Series, a T20 tourney to be held in February next year, did not want to miss his training in preparation for next year’s Tokyo Olympics and headed to the nearby University Sports Pavilion in Marine Lines on Tuesday morning. But the facilities at the iconic track and field facility left him shocked. While he was glad to surprise a bunch of young athletes participating at the Sports For All (SFA) athletics event, he criticised the synthetic track.

“These kids look really good. This is such a good initiative, but the track is bad. Kids will get hurt here. We have better tracks than this in Jamaica. You people should do something about it,” said Blake, 29, who has won two Olympic gold and two silver medals.

According to a member of the team that is handling Blake’s Mumbai visit, the track great’s first reaction was: “Is this a track? Oh maan! This is bad! This is very bad. Someone will get hurt here.”

mid-day had run a story last month and last year about the spectator stands at the University Sports Pavilion being unsafe.

And Blake has validated the fact the officials who look after the daily affairs of the stadium need to make sure that better facilities are provided to the next generation of athletes.

When Blake walked into the stadium with his girlfriend Laura Pearson, many failed to recognise him. But once he got closer to them, many athletes and their parents ran towards him for autographs and pictures. But since his priority was to train, he told the enthusiastic bunch of kids to wait till he finished his training. After sweating it out for an hour and a half, he kept his word and obliged the waiting kids with autographs and selfies. He even gave them a pep talk before the U-8 boys and girls event and was seen cheering them from the sidelines. Later, he even gave away some prizes.

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