15 FEB 2008 General News

Powell hopeful for Melbourne start next week - IAAF World Athletics Tour

Asafa Powell looking the picture of relaxation in his 100m heat in Rieti in which he set the World record of 9.74 (Lorenzo Sampaolo)Asafa Powell looking the picture of relaxation in his 100m heat in Rieti in which he set the World record of 9.74 (Lorenzo Sampaolo) © Copyright

Sydney, AustraliaWorld record holder Asafa Powell said today he is confident of racing the 100m at the Melbourne Grand Prix on Thursday 21 February, part of the IAAF World Athletics Tour.

Powell arrived in Australia with four stitches in his left knee and grazing down his shin, consequences of a fall in the stairs at his home in Jamaica.

The world’s fastest man expects to have the stitches removed over the weekend and he said if he can train without inconvenience on Monday he will compete in Melbourne.

"It's not moving as fast as I would want it to, but things are looking positive. It’s coming along well,” Powell said today as he flew into Sydney with his Caribbean MVP squad led by amiable coach Stephen Francis for the Sydney Grand Prix on Saturday night, 16 February.

The untimely accident forced Powell out of the Sydney Grand Prix, although he was planning only to run the anchor of a 4x100m relay which boasts Darrel Brown and Michael Frater, 100m silver medallists at the 2003 Paris and 2005 Helsinki World championships, respectively.

While Powell was scheduled for a rest week, they usually do trials and, as he said, “This is why I came to Australia, to try to compete to the best of my ability. I really wanted to see what I could do here."

"This week is a rest week for us, so I'm not missing anything in practice," he said. "But next week if I'm not able to run and train I'll be missing out."

Powell did not have the best preparation for last year’s World championships in Osaka and perhaps a sense of manifest destiny lulled him into a false sense of security. He was brought rudely back to earth by American Tyson Gay who shocked the big Jamaican, putting him off his rhythm and ultimately back into the bronze medal position.

"The problem is I get over-confident so I don't do what I usually do," he said. "If I just concentrate on running 9.74, I'll be the winner."

To date, although he has run two World records, of 9.77 – which he equalled twice – and 9.74 in Rieti following his Osaka reality check, Powell's medal tally in the majors stands at one, the Osaka bronze. Still, he remains unconcerned, finding confidence in his coach and program.

"I am still young. I have more Olympic Games and world championships to go, so it is just for me to stay strong."

Mike Hurst for the IAAF