Four-time Olympic medallist Yohan Blake has contributed to Botswana’s sprint sensation Isaac Makwala’s book by writing the foreword and is scheduled to be present as a speaker at the launch of the book at the University of Botswana Conference Centre on 20 November 2021.
Born in St. James Parish, Jamaica in 1989, Blake is the world’s second fastest sprint athlete in men’s 100m and 200m races with personal bests (PBs) of 9.69 seconds and 19.26 seconds respectively. The only athlete who has run faster times than him is his compatriot and former training partner, Usain Bolt.
Blake is also credited with being the only athlete who got closer to the superior Bolt at the London 2012 Olympics when he won silver medals behind the sprint legend in the 100m and 200m races. He then teamed with Bolt to claim gold and the world record of 36.84 seconds in the 4x100m relay at the same competition. Blake helped the Jamaican men’s 4x100m relay team win another gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
This is the athlete who became the world’s 100m champion (9.92 seconds) at the Daegu 2011 World Championships as an influential member of the Jamaican men’s 4x100m relay team. The record-breaking and highly-decorated athlete has now written the foreword to Makwala’s book titled “The Solo Runner; The Untold Story of Isaac Makwala” which will launched on 20 November 2021 at UB Conference Centre in Gaborone.
The Jamaican sprinter is also scheduled to be one of the speakers at Makwala’s book launch. “At present we are not sure if he will come to Botswana or if he will do his speech online,” said the author of the book, Dr Tshepang Tshube, who is a former athlete and is a senior lecturer in the Department of Sports Science at UB in an interview.
Asked why they opted for Blake to write the foreword and to be among speakers at the launch, Tshube answered: “Blake was close to Makwala when he was training in Jamaica. He was nice to him and he is the one who made him comfortable during his stay there. They remain close to this day.”
Tshube describes Makwala’s book as a journey of hope and a narration of focus and determination. “This is a story of not looking back and of maintaining a one-track mind to achieve your ultimate desire despite your background and in spite of the odds that may be before you,” he said.
“It is an impactful story of a Kalanga warrior with a one-track mind; a man with a hunger to win propelled by the cheers of the crowd. It is the journey of a man who strives to beat only himself and who crosses the finish line as fast as he can. This book narrates all that this athletic giant is about and elaborates on what it takes to leave a legacy formed out of nothing but sheer will.”
Asked about his book recently, Makwala responded: “Through this book, I want people to know my story from way back, what motivated me and where I come from, especially children. I want people to know that not only education can make you and that even sports can make you.”