Blake: I can beat the cheats
Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake has no problem racing against convicted dopers, insisting he will beat them clean.
The world's second fastest man is in Manchester to race over 150 metres at the Great CityGames on Saturday and help showcase the good side of the sport after the drug bans handed down to Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell dragged it through the mud.
American Gay will be back as early as next month, having been banned for only a year after testing positive three times for an anabolic steroid, a punishment criticised as too lenient by a number of current and former athletes.
Powell revealed he would appeal his 18-month suspension for testing positive for a banned stimulant.
Asked for his take on the doping situation, Blake, the Olympic silver medallist over 100m and 200m, said: "It's bad, but I close my mind from it because I don't want to hear anything about it.
"There's always a little bit of concern in your mind (about what people think about all sprinters). But you know what you can do, how strong and positive you are on the track, so you don't worry about it.
"Of course you can believe what you're seeing on the track.
"Everyone has their different penalties. Tyson Gay is coming back soon. I'm happy, I love running with him, he's a great competitor.
"Whatever he does I'm ready. I don't mind (running against drug cheats). I can beat them clean."
Blake has more than enough on his plate to worry about others as he aims to bounce back from a 2013 season decimated by a hamstring tear.
The timing of the injury, which denied him the chance to defend his world title in Moscow, was especially cruel given he had run his 100m personal best of 9.69 seconds - only training partner Usain Bolt has gone quicker - at the end of the 2012 campaign.
The blow even left him fearing for his future in the sport.
"It took a toll on me," he said. "It was the first time in my career I was injured like that. The type of work I had to put in to get back to where I am right now took a lot of work and a lot of crying at night.
"I wondered to myself, 'Is this really happening to me?' I had to go a whole year without running, the thing I love. It's just good for me to be back on track now.
"I won't say I didn't have fear. I am human and I have a fear almost every time. But I said, 'Listen, I'm the second fastest man in the universe, I can get back to where I was if I keep working hard in training."
Saturday's task on a temporary track on Deansgate in Manchester city centre should be a straightforward victory - but Blake will have one eye on Bolt's 150m world best of 14.35secs, set at the same venue five years ago.
"The day before I left (Jamaica) I said, 'I'm going after that record'," Blake said. "Bolt said, 'It's going to take some running'."