In what looks set to be his first European outing since he limped off the track injured in London last summer, the 'world’s fastest man' Asafa Powell of Jamaica has this evening announced that he will compete in the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games on Friday 2 June 2006, the first meeting of the IAAF Golden League 2006.
Powell, 23, who set the World record holder for the men’s 100m of 9.77 seconds in Athens, Greece on 14 June 2005, had a torrid time in the remainder of last season. For most of the summer he was sidelined with an injury (a 2.5cm tear in his adductor longus muscle in the region of the Bone-Tendon Junction) which fully kicked in after he ran a 10.22 second heat in London on 22 July, and which left him laying helpless on the track when the gun fired for the final on the same evening.
Fully recuperated from that tear, Powell has already been very active this year - running seven relay race legs (4 x 100 and 4 x 400), an individual 400m, and five 100m races which included four rounds at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, last month. At those Games he was crowned 100m champion with some ease on 20 March. His winning time was 10.03 which currently is his season’s best.
On 2 June, Powell will no doubt be hoping to run a lot swifter with the Oslo stadium record of 9.84 seconds the most obvious goal in his sights at this historic annual fixture in the IAAF Golden League season.
But it will not be Powell’s first experience of Oslo. As an inexperienced 20-year-old he competed at the 2003 meeting, with a 10.93 finish now just a youthful footnote to an already illustrious career which saw the Jamaican first blast through the 10 seconds barrier (with electronic timing) in 2004.
Powell was disappointed with his fifth place in that summer’s Olympic final in Athens (9.94). He let his frustration rip with a 9.87 (then a national record) in Brussels, and a 100m (9.98) / 200m (20.06) double in the IAAF World Athletics Final which closed out 2004. Then less than a year after the Olympics, he was back in the Greek capital with his 9.77 dash, and history was made.
Chris Turner for the IAAF