PARIS (AFP) - World 100m record holder Asafa Powell has lost his race against time to be fit for next month’s 100m at the world athletics championships in Helsinki, his agent confirmed.
The 22-year-old Jamaican, who set a new mark of 9.77sec in Athens last month, is recovering from a torn groin muscle which he suffered when competing in the 100m at Crystal Palace last week.
“He won’t be running in the 100m,” Powell’s agent Paul Doyle told AFP Saturday.
“There’s still a chance that he could compete in the 4x100m relay, but it’s very unlikely,” he added.
“The injury’s very close to the tendon which means it’ll take longer to heal. We hope he’ll be back for the Golden League meeting in Zurich (on August 19).”
After collapsing just after the start of the 100m at Crystal Palace Powell travelled to Munich to be examined by Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wolfahrt, the Bayern Munich and German national team doctor.
He had originally picked up the groin injury at the Jamaican championships on June 26 which forced him to withdraw from the Rome Golden League meeting.
The injury is Powell’s third of the season and it has dealt a shattering blow to his hopes of a title.
“Devastated,” was Powell’s reaction after the injury.
“You train with one focus all year and to have that taken away leaves you feeling empty. I hope to be able to run the relay in Helsinki and help bring a medal back to Jamaica.”
Powell suffered a left thigh injury in May and a right thigh injury in June at the Jamaican national championships, just nine days after his world record run.
“I think he came back too early,” said Doyle of Powell’s London appearance.
“It’s easy to say today. He thought he was ready.”
Powell was disqualified in the quarter-finals of the 2003 world championships in Paris and then endured a nightmare Olympic Games in 2004 in Athens where he had arrived as favourite but was beaten into fifth place.
America’s Justin Gatlin, who took Olympic gold, will now be overwhelming favourite for the world title next week.
“This changes nothing,” said the 23-year-old Gatlin.
“I wasn’t the Olympics favourite last year but I won. Everyone has a chance to win.”
Powell’s physiotherapist, Mark Young said: “The region of tendon that is torn is particularly slow to heal when compared to a tear in the belly of the muscle.”