Blake’s comments slammed by gender activist

December 12, 2019

Gender affairs activist Nadeen Spence has labelled comments made by former 100m World champion Yohan Blake as unfortunate and sexist.

Blake, who is in India promoting Road Safety Awareness, was recently interviewed by the Indian magazine Outlook and criticised the decision to add more women's events to track and field at the Tokyo Olympics next summer.

"[It's a] very stupid decision," Blake said on December 3. "It's all right to promote women but not this way. God made men to be stronger, then why stop us from running? World Athletics has dropped the 200m from the Diamond League in 2020. (World Athletics president) Sebastian Coe is killing the sport to accommodate commercial interests. That's just crazy."

But Spence says Blake's comments are inconsistent.

"I think his arguments don't add up," she told STAR Sports. "From what I'm hearing, if World Athletics is choosing to maintain activities that it feels are more profitable to its endeavours, the ones that will attract more television time, will attract more sponsorship. That is not a gender decision, that's a money decision.

Sexist response

"For me, his response is a sexist response because it's not about whether or not women or men are stronger that has led to the decision being made. It's whether or not it's going to earn more money. I could understand him critiquing World Athletics to say it's not just about the money, it's also about the interest of the athlete, how they have prepared, and their ability to put their talent on show. The part that God made men stronger than women doesn't, at all, fit into the commentary or the issue at hand. I think it's out of place and it's an unfortunate statement but I think him having an issue with the decision is a legitimate issue."

STAR Sports reached out to Blake's management team for a response on the issue but parties contacted were unavailable for comment.

Blake, the joint second fastest man in the history of the 100m sprint, has been the target of public criticism lately, after also saying that the fastest man, Usain Bolt, overshadowed his career. Blake said that he was born at the wrong time, and if Bolt was not in the picture, then he would have been the world's fastest man. Blake's time of 9.69 seconds puts him as the joint holder of the second fastest ever time with American Tyson Gay. Blake also clocked 19.26 seconds, the second fastest 200m time in history. That record of 19.19 seconds also belongs to Bolt.

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