Asafa leaves for Serbia

Asafa, teammates leave for Belgrade meet
. Coach says Powell’s fitness the focus
KAYON RAYNOR, Senior staff reporter
Friday, May 25, 2007

Asafa Powell goes through his paces at a practice session at the Stadium East field on Wednesday morning. (below): Powell’s new two colour custom-built yellow and black Nike spikes. According to Powell’s agent Paul Doyle, Sport Wear company Nike has been making custom built spikes for Powell since 2004. (Photos: Bryan Cummings)

MVP Track Club’s head coach Stephen Francis is not expecting anything in particular from world record-holder Asafa Powell in his first 100-metre race next Tuesday in Belgrade, Serbia, except to see him finish the race healthy.

Sidelined by tendonitis in the knee for approximately three weeks in April, the 2006 IAAF Male Athlete of the Year has seen his 2007 outdoor debut postponed on three previous occasions. He missed the Mt Sac Relays on April 15, the Penn Relays on April 28 and the May 5 Jamaica International Invitational Meet.

However, 15 days ago, MVP’s agent representative Paul Doyle confirmed that Powell - the 2006 Commonwealth Games champion - was fully recovered and would run his first competitive 100 metres at the second AthleticsBet meet on May 29 in Belgrade.

“It’s basically to see what he’s like competitively,” Francis told the Observer in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

“He (Asafa), I’m sure, is looking forward to it because he has not competed in quite a little while over the 100 metres. I mean, there is no great expectation for anything, just that he hopefully be healthy coming out of the race and that he’ll execute well,” the veteran coach added.

Powell, along with MVP teammates Michael Frater, Mario Forsytte, Germaine Mason and Shericka Williams, are scheduled to leave the island tomorrow enroute to Belgrade, Serbia.

The 24-year-old Powell, who registered a record 12 sub-10 seconds clocking last season, has not run a competitive 100 metres since September 2006 when he clocked 9.89secs to win the 4th IAAF World Athletics Final in Stuttgart, Germany.

According to the IAAF outdoor performance list for 2007, the fastest legal time of 9.98secs belongs to Bahamian Derrick Atkins. However, American Tyson Gay, who was Powell’s main rival in 2006 following Justin Gatlin’s positive dope test, registered a brisk 9.79secs with a powerful tail wind of +2.5 m/s. The allowable wind permitted under IAAF rules is +2.0 m/s.

“I don’t know what kind of times we’ll have in Belgrade, because I don’t know what the weather is going to be like. I don’t know what the effect of the (airplane) flying is going to be, we just hope to just come out with a sound, reasonable race,” Francis responded when quizzed about the possible time Powell is capable of running, based on how his training has been progressing since his return from injury.

Powell’s training partners Darrel Brown of Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaican Michael Frater posted respectable opening season times at the Jamaica International Invitational, clocking 10.02secs and 10.13secs, respectively - the second and 15th fastest times this season.

According to Observer sources, based on how technically sound and smooth Powell looked in training this week at the Stadium East field, it is anticipated that the fastest man in history will register an impressive time in Belgrade.

Doyle told the Observer that Powell’s next race will be over 200 metres at the Prefontaine Classic on June 10 in Eugene, Oregon, before he suits-up for this season’s first Golden League meet - the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway - on June 15.

In the meantime, Francis expects world No 1 female sprinter Simpson to bounce back strongly after losing her first race this season - a 200-metre contest to Rachelle Smith of the USA at the Jamaica International Invitational.

“I expect that she’s going to run extremely well from here on… she usually starts her season relatively slowly and I think she’s going to do well. and you can expect quite a few PRs from her over both distances this season,” Francis said.

Simpson’s career best time in the 100-metre is 10.82secs, which ranks her second behind Merlene Ottey (10.74) on Jamaica’s list of fastest females, while her PB of 22.00secs is fourth behind Ottey (21.64), Grace Jackson (21.72) and Juliet Cuthbert (21.75).

Are you going to be there kitkat? Or anyone from the forum? Maybe we could meet?

I wish … but we will await your observatuions if you can manage to see him. Maybe you can watch his warm-up. I learned so much watching the East Germans and others warming up at Zurich, all that ballistic “stretching” which we in the west were told was verboten! :eek:

I will try, but I cannot promice anything. One of mine colegues works at the Artur Takac Meeting, so I could aks her…

Hi Duxx (Most Excellent :))
Yes, the access around many of these meets is highly restricted. Nevermind, if you can get a ticket to the meet just enjoy. If you have a minute later, then give us your impressions.
I met Takac a couple of times, very quiet and dignified old gentleman. He is obviously well thought of in Serbia. I don’t know how effective he was as an administrator within the IAAF, but he seemed to be a wise head from my brief observations of him.

I have heard of Takac only when he lost his life in the mountains whilie skiing. I am not so fammiliar with ‘athletics persons’ and sports figures. Must be because I spent too much time on the PC instead on the fileds/stadiums :slight_smile:

Well we are All the beneficiaries of your studies. Thankyou big D.

Hey Duxx, it would be great to get some info about his warmup would be great, if anything some notes and most of all enjoy the meet.

Their warm-up is mostly dynamic type stuff. Scorpions, etc. They do very little static stretching except when their massage therapist insists or they are especially tight. Pretty generic stuff, nothing new or exciting.

Unfortunally guys, I went with soccer team on training camp in another city whole last weekend… I was unable to watch it on TV too, cause I was in bus :frowning:

THAT’S IT Duxxy. You’re sacked! You’re off the Dencorub free-list. We were expecting to read how Asafa warmed up on the vibration platform, how he was so flexible he could put his elbows on the ground without bending his knees. How he snatched more than the Olympic superheavyweight champion to prime himself for his latest sub-10. I’m sure this must all be true. We just needed you to confirm. :eek:

The day before we went to training camp, my friend from student union called me and asked me if I would love to spend 30mins with Asafa’s coach (Stive Francis right?). :eek: I said, damn bro, I gotta go tommorow, but I have one frined (member of this forum too) who could do that instead of me - he agreed - but, with some damn miracle he didn’t pick up the phone when my friend (jovisha) called him. So, I missed a chance to meet and talk to his coach and maybe interview him for… C’mon bad reps, I am waiting :slight_smile:

Bad rep points for you!!! It probably wouldn’t have been Stephen Francis anyway probably just some guy who says he’s his coach (Vern Gambetta maybe). That stuff happened to my friend a couple times when on international travel.

They were together in the CityHall with city mayor I guess… But, I guess you are right, altought you could be wrong :slight_smile: hehe

You were dead right Duxx - take care of your own business…

Anyway - Why would you want to meet Stephen Francis?

I mean - what’s he going to tell you? Which sprint manual he uses?


Always worth talking to the coaches, even if they only tell you something by accident (like carrying the wrong manual around L’Equipe!)

My (sarcastic) point exactly!