29 DEC 2011 General News Birmingham, UK

Collins has Powell in his sights in Birmingham

Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis - men's 100 metres heats, Daegu (Getty Images)Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis - men's 100 metres heats, Daegu (Getty Images) © Copyright

Dual World Championships bronze medallist Kim Collins will launch his 2012 assault in Glasgow at the Aviva International Match before testing his Olympic credentials against former World record holder Asafa Powell in an explosive Aviva Grand Prix encounter in Birmingham.


The 35-year-old former World champion, who defied critics by taking 100m and 4x100m bronze at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, Korea, this past summer, will represent the Commonwealth Select side at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall on 28 January before heading to Birmingham to race at the National Indoor Arena on 18 February at the IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting.


Collins will contest both the 60m and 200m events in Glasgow before turning his attention to a blistering 60m showdown with Powell in Birmingham.


It will be the seventh time Collins competes in front of the passionate NIA crowd, as the popular sprinter enjoys a resurgence in form.


The St. Kitts and Nevis star first competed in the West Midlands back in 2003 at the World Indoor Championships, where he won silver in the 60m in his then-best ever time of 6.53, a mark he sensationally bettered in Karlsruhe in early 2011 with a world leading time of 6.50.


Nine years on Collins is confident of a blistering performance in his first ever 60m race against Powell, who will compete indoors in the UK for the very first time in February, saying a win against the Jamaican at the world’s premier indoor athletics meet will go a long way in his quest to take Olympic gold in London.


He said: “I can’t wait to race Asafa and to test him out over 60m – Asafa doesn’t often race indoors so it will be interesting to see what sort of form he brings to Birmingham. Asafa, Tyson (Gay), Yohan (Blake), Usain (Bolt) – they’re the heavy-hitters in men’s sprinting so to get the chance to run against any of those guys so early in the year ahead of an Olympic Games is a great opportunity."


“I’m sure Asafa’s going to start favourite for the race but I’ve competed in Birmingham plenty of times before, I’m comfortable racing indoors and I know the NIA track inside out so it’s going to go down to the wire."


“A win over Asafa, even if it is indoors, will really give me a good start to the year and a lot of confidence when I line up in London so I can’t wait.”


In Daegu this summer Collins snuck a surprise bronze medal in the 100m and an astonishing third place in the 4x100m relay alongside his St. Kitts and Nevis teammates, a minnow nation on the international athletics stage.


“2011 was a good year for me, I had some strong races and to get a world leading time was something I knew I had in me – that was a great moment. The World Championships was a good meet and I was happy to come away with two bronze medals. Now I want to try to repeat that effort in London – I’ve never won an Olympic medal and that’s still the dream for me.”


Collins commands the ongoing respect of his illustrious sprint colleagues, having competed at the highest level for the best part of two decades and set countless records in the process.


His medal-winning feats at the World Championships this summer were not the only accolades Collins collected in Daegu – his appearance at the meet meant he was the first track athlete in history to compete in nine World Championships.


But the evergreen Collins insists he is not interested in records and is instead focused solely on another successful Aviva Series, which will hopefully culminate in another major championships medal.


He added: “I really enjoy coming to the UK to compete, it’s something that I’ve been doing for a few years now and I’m certainly not planning to change my routine in an Olympic year."


“The cold weather is definitely not for me but I really enjoy competing in a team environment and the Aviva International Match is the perfect place for me to race as part of the Commonwealth team. It’s important for me to get back into racing after a long training block and to see where I’m at against the competition."


“The Aviva Grand Prix is a great event, I’ve been racing there for many years. It’s a good meet because you know you’ll be tested and that you’ll have to push yourself for a good result – that’s really important to me at this time of year.”


Organizers for the IAAF