Kelowna's Jerome Blake is competing this weekend at the B.C. Athletics championships in Nanaimo.

Blake makes strides at nationals

Kelowna sprinter continues to improve on the track as he gains more national recognition

Other than the process of landing his Canadian citizenship papers, there isn’t much holding Jerome Blake back these days.

The 19-year-old sprinter from Kelowna turned into two more impressive performances last weekend at the Canadian Senior Track and Field Championships in Edmonton.

Blake was right on his personal best in the 100 metres, finishing his heat in 10.37 seconds.

In the 200 metres, Blake posted a solid time of 21.10 seconds into a strong headwind.

Because he’s not yet Canadian, the Jamaican-born Blake wasn’t permitted to advance to the 200 final.

“He would have been ranked third going into the final, so that was a very promising run for Jerome,” said Pat Sima-Ledding, Blake’s coach with the Okanagan Athletics Club. “We’re hoping that by this winter he will have his (Canadian) citizenship so he can compete in finals at national competitions.”

Blake, however, was permitted to run in the 4 by 100 relay final and helped his B.C. teammates win a gold medal. With Blake running the anchor leg, Team B.C won the race by a full second.

Sima-Ledding looks for Blake to continue to make progress this summer, as he competes this weekend at the B.C. Athletics Championships in Nanaimo.

Then in August, the Rutland grad will head to Fort McMurray, AB for the Western Canada Summer Games.

In the longer term, Blake has plans to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio in the 100 metres.

“There’s still a ways to go, he needs to run a 10.16, but he still has over a year to make that standard,” added Sima-Ledding. “He’s on the right track. The speed comes when it comes, it can’t be forced.”

Canada’s national sprinting program has also expressed an interest in Blake and could potentially bring him on board to train as a member of the men’s relay team.

Canada is considered a medal hopeful in the 4 by 100 in 2016 in Rio.

Beginning in the fall, Sima-Ledding will get Blake prepared for the indoor season.

Part of his winter regimen will include a number of trips to Arizona where he’s been invited to train at the World Athletics Centre in Phoenix.

“It’s a good opportunity for him to train with some world-class athletes,” Sima-Ledding said.