'We are super proud of Yohan': St Jago High cheers on Blake in Olympic medal questSunday, August 01, 2021
By Candice Haughton
ST CATHERINE, Jamaica – As 2011 World Champion Yohan Blake chases glory at the Tokyo Olympics, his alma mater St Jago High School is cheering him on and expressing pride at the career accomplishments of its former star student athlete.
“We are elated. I'm just too excited about what he has been able to accomplish and what he's still trying to accomplish,” Collette Feurtado-Pryce, Principal of St Jago High School, told Observer Online on Friday ahead of the start of the men's 100m competition in which Blake is hoping to return to the podium.
Blake rose to prominence as a St Jago High school athlete, becoming the first teenager to dip under the 10-second barrier for the 100m. He won gold in the event at the 2011 World Championships, and silver in both the 100m and 200m at the Olympics in London, but has struggled with injuries in recent years.
A season's best 9.95 seconds performance in the 100m at an Atlanta meet in early July signaled a return to form for Blake who has vowed repeatedly that he will not be leaving Tokyo without a medal.
Feurtado-Pryce expressed confidence that Blake will prevail, but noted, “whatever happens”, the school will remain proud of the Olympian.
“Whatever happens, he is a raven and we are super proud of what he has accomplished, what he has done for Jamaica so far and I know that even in the future he will continue to be a force to be reckoned with, in whatever he chooses to do,” the principal said.
Blake, 31, hails from humble beginnings in Bogue Hill, St James, and has reportedly spoken about enduring a tough childhood and having to miss school on several occasions because he had no money and had to sell bottles to survive.
According to Feurtado-Pryce, the Olympian demonstrates the core values of St Jago.
“Strong, tenacious, resilient. I recognise that he is still passionate about what he does, he still wants to be number one, and that is our tagline – 'St Jago, Number One'. I can't help but think that a lot of St Jago rubbed off on this young man. He's just awesome,” Feurtado-Pryce said.
“It's so coincidental that the Olympics now are aligned to our intake for the 2021 September school year and so we would be courting young [people] to come to St Jago for track and field, and so of course how are we going to motivate them? The longevity of a Jamaican star like Yohan Blake,” she continued, noting “It's not just about Champs, it's about the Olympics, it's about a career and of course it's about education.”
Feurtado-Pryce hailed the school's other Olympians which includes the likes of 400m gold medallist Melaine Walker, sprint hurdler Michelle Freeman and former 400m world champion Bert Cameron.
“Olympians, you know that that's a very strong St Jago tradition. For the past 30 years we've always had representation on the Olympic scene,” said the St Jago principal.
“I want them to know that we are super proud of their accomplishments to date.”
Noting that the school is still fostering young athletes to compete on the international stage, Feurtado-Pryce added, “we are in the process of overhauling our programme. We have another great in our midst, Bertram Cameron, he is our technical director for the boys' track and field programme and what's happening now is amazing.”
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