Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, history’s youngest 100-metres world champion and the man often touted as the successor to world record holder Usain Bolt, will run in the Donovan Bailey Invitational on June 16 at Foote Field in Edmonton.
Blake, who set a personal best of 9.82 seconds over 100-metres last year – compared to the world record 9.58 set by Olympic champion and countryman Bolt at then 2009 Berlin worlds – will headline the men's 100-metres. The Donovan Bailey Invitational serves as the National Track League's (NTL) third of six stops in 2012. The NTL will also make stops in Vancouver (June 10), Victoria (June 13), Moncton (July 5), Halifax (July 8), and Toronto (July 11).
“I'm very excited to come to Edmonton and race. I've heard nothing but good things about the city and am looking forward to experiencing Canada for my first time,” Blake said in a statement.
He’s been a model of consistency. In 2011, Blake ran more races under 10 seconds than any other sprinter. He ended his season in extraordinary fashion by securing the fastest 200-metres time in the world – and second fastest in history – at 19.26 seconds. The 200 metres also happens to be Bolt’s favoured event.
Bailey, a Canadian Olympic Hall of Famer and Olympic 100-metre gold medalist in 1996, said that by bringing in the best talents, “and building a strong partnership with the City of Edmonton and developing the business and entertainment value of track and field, we are setting the stage to be the premier international track meet in North America. We are honoured to have Yohan as our first headliner.”
Breaking the 10-second barrier is a feat that hasn’t been achieved in Canada since the 2001 Edmonton world championships, said Peter Ogilvie, meet director and executive director of Athletics Alberta,
The Bailey Invitational – formerly called the Edmonton International Track Classic – gives athletes an opportunity to meet Olympic standard times prior to their nationals and Olympic trials a few weeks later. The London 2012 Olympics run July 27 to August 12, 2012.