Yohan Blake: "I'd prefer to miss the Olympics than take covid vaccine"
Yohan Blake has vowed to refuse any offer of a COVID-19 vaccine, saying he would sooner miss the Tokyo 2020 Olympics than be immunised.
Usain Bolt's one-time great rival Yohan Blake has declared he will refuse all covid-19 vaccines, and would rather miss the Tokyo 2020 Olympics than be immunised.
The Jamaican sprinter won silver in the 100 metres and 200m at London 2012, as Bolt landed gold in both races. Only Bolt has ever run faster than Blake over those distances.
Speaking on Saturday, Blake expressed his opposition to being given a vaccine.
The International Olympic Committee has indicated athletes will not need to be vaccinated before taking part in the Tokyo Games, but vice-president John Coates recently said it was "certainly being encouraged".
The Olympics, postponed from last year due to the coronavirus crisis, is due to run from July 23 to August 8.
Quoted by the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper, Blake said: "My mind still stays strong, I don't want any vaccine, I'd rather miss the Olympics than take the vaccine, I am not taking it.
"I don't really want to get into it now, but I have my reasons."
Blake, who won 100m gold at the 2011 World Championships, is now 31 and Tokyo may be his last chance to shine on the Olympic stage.
He said in a video posted late on Saturday night: "Love me or dislike me, but I am here for a reason, to serve God, and at the same time be a servant for God to help each and every one.
"I am a righteous man, I am a man of God, and I believe that everybody do have a choice in life, no matter what. And I want to tell someone, don't let anyone take away that choice from you.
"At the end of the day if anything should happen, nobody's going to be by your side apart from God. No one is going to be there to hold your hand, it's going to be you.
"Follow your mind, don't follow the crowd. At the same time, be respectful to each and every one. Don't let no one take away your choice."
Jamaica has had 422 confirmed deaths from covid-19, and 23,263 cases, the country's government announced on Saturday.
The country has yet to receive first shipments of a vaccine, but health minister Dr Christopher Tufton said on Friday they would "soon" arrive.