By NAN Sports Editor
News Americas, LONDON, England, Tues. Aug. 15, 2017: British fans are celebrating the gold and silver, respectively, won by their men and women 4×100 meters relay teams at the IAAF 2017 World Championships over the weekend, but lost in the fanfare is the fact that the Caribbean Briton Diaspora contributed to that victory through three members of the two teams.
Nethaneel Joseph Mitchell-Blake
In the gold medal winning men’s squad, Nethaneel Joseph Mitchell-Blake’s roots run all the way to Jamaica.
Only the second Briton, after Adam Gemili to break both 10 seconds for 100 metres and 20 seconds for 200 metres, Mitchell-Blake was born to Joseph Blake and Audrey Mitchell-Blake in Newham, London and his family relocated to Jamaica when he was age thirteen.
His sprinting talent was recognized at the Jamaica College, who took him on, and he competed at the Inter-Secondary Schools Boys and Girls Championships. After a 200 m win at the 2011 Jamaican junior championships in a personal best of 21.54 seconds, he was selected to compete for Great Britain at the 2011 World Youth Championships in Athletics and finished fifth in his semi-final.
Mitchell-Blake was then recruited by Louisiana State University and began to compete for them collegiately with the LSU Tigers team. He then went on to represent Great Britain at the 2013 European Athletics Junior Championships and was the 200 m champion.
In the Southeastern Conference (SEC) indoor championships in 2016, he won the 200 m after another best of 20.51 and also placed seventh in the 60 m. He marked a breakthrough at the SEC Outdoor Championships, coming within one hundredth of the British record for the 200 m with his winning time of 19.95 seconds. On Saturday, he was part of the four member team that won gold in the 4x100m Relay at the 2017 IAAF World Championships.
In the women’s 4×100-m relay side, that grabbed silver ahead of Jamaica Saturday, two of their four member team have roots in the Caribbean. They are:
Desirèe Henry, 21, is of Antiguan and Guyanese descent. She competes in the 100, 200 and 400-m races. She was
Henry was one of seven young people who lit the Olympic cauldron at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony. She improved her personal bests in 2016 to 11.06 in the 100 meters and 22.46 in the 200 meters and earned selection for the Rio Olympics. In Rio, she reached the semifinals of the 100 metres, running 11.09, having run 11.08 in her heat. She went on to win a bronze medal in the sprint relay, setting a new British record of 41.77, along with her teammates Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita. She and her team mates Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita won silver in the 4×100-m finals at the IAAF World Championships in London in 42.12 seconds on August 12, 2017.
Asha Philip, 26, was born in Leyton, East London to an Antiguan father and a Jamaican mother. She graduated from Kingston University in 2012, with a degree in Drama. Philip competed in double mini trampoline from aged 4 before turning to sprinting and by July 2007 won the World Youth gold in the 100 metres, but was injured shortly after.
On her return from injury, Philip was part of the Great Britain teams that won a silver medal in the 4 x 200 metres relay at the 2014 IAAF World Relays, and a gold medal in the 4 x 100 metres relay at the 2014 European Championships. In the same year, representing England, she won a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 metres relay and finished fourth in the 100 metres final at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
In 2016, she competed at the Olympic Games in Rio. Philip reached the semifinals of the 100 metres, but did not qualify for the finals as she finished last in her heat. Philip then went on to win a bronze medal in the 4 x 100 metres relay, along with teammates Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita. The quartet set a new British record with a time of 41.77 seconds. On Aug. 12, 2017, she along with Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita won silver in the 4×100-m finals at the IAAF World Championships in London in 42.12 seconds.