Asafa should run in Oz

By Mike Hurst

IF Asafa Powell races in Australia this summer he would probably win Olympic gold in Beijing next year.

That’s the conclusion drawn by Canadian Charlie Francis, the coach who has had an influence on all five men who have run 9.7 seconds for 100 metres.

Francis, best known as the coach of Ben Johnson _ history’s first 9.8 and 9.7 performer _ has just completed a comprehensive analysis of Powell’s last five seasons.

He believes the big Jamaican’s failure to perform at his best in the world championships and Olympic Games is not because he’s a ``choker’’ but because he has mis-timed his run.

Powell’s preparation has had flaws, primarily to do with the period he spends progressing through various training phases and also with the number and scheduling of races.

Despite running a world record 9.77sec twice in 2006, Powell finished third (in 9.96sec) in the world 100m final in Osaka last month (August 26) _ then 14 days later in the sleepy Italian village of Rieti he ran a sizzling 9.74 in his heat, easing down 10metres from the finish.

``I think if Powell ran in the Australian summer series and then perhaps ran some indoor 60m races in Japan, that combo would be good,’’ Francis told The Daily Telegraph in an email.

``If he gets five to seven races in the February-March period, as he did at that time last year at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, it would lead to a shorter next build-up which would be better for him.

``He might follow a schedule where he’ll be ready for a maximum performance with a few less outdoor races.

``With an Australian competition period under his belt, Powell has a greater margin of safety if there is any sort of injury. He can get in the races he needs _ that may have been why he ended up short of competitions this year before the world championships.

``In any case he’s at the stage now _ and has been for a while _ where he does not need to `up’ the training volume.

``Powell’s problem is a timing issue.’’

By the time Powell had found top gear if anyone was running scared it was America’s Tyson Gay _ who won three gold medals at the world titles for 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.

Gay refused Golden League invitations to face Powell, admitting: ``I’m not really ready to race Asafa yet … I want to be fully healthy and focused. I don’t want to race him if he’s on his A game and I’m not.

``Like I told [Asafa] it’s about being 100 per cent. I’m not going to step up to the plate and race the world record holder when I’m not 100 per cent because right now he’s on fire.

``Next year when I’m running 9.7s it will be even more exciting.’’

Only if Powell is also running 9.7 when it really counts _ in the Olympic final, not two weeks too late.

Francis defended Powell against charges of choking brought against him by many experts and mostly recently by 200m and 400m world recordholder Michael Johnson.

``Asafa is an impressive athlete, having broken the world record twice already in his young career. But is he a champion? Not yet. Will he ever be? Doubtful!’’ wrote Johnson in his British newspaper column.

Francis disagrees, saying: Sure he'll never win a big one if his management team doesn't recognise the clear performance pattern from his competition history and looks for a psychologist to answer a training question. But if they look at his competitive history and training and simply repeat it with the appropriate number of lead-up races before Beijing _ he’ll win.

``Asafa set a world record at race 18 in 2006 and at race 18 in 2007 with a similarly lengthy build-up period.

``With a shorter spread between competition periods, he’s done it with 11 races. The performance pattern is there for anyone to see. No need to re-invent the wheel. Just repeat it at the right time!’’

To avoid straying too far away from race-specific speed and movement patterns, Powell should build a number of short competition periods into his annual program.

That would serve too purposes: help him avoid injuries associated with finding speed after doing too much longer and slower training; and help him chalk up the 18 races he seems to need to dial up a world record.

Brilliant young French coach Pierre-Jean Vazel _ the personal coach of world championship 100 fourth-placer Olusoji Fasuba _ also debunks the notion that Powell is psychologically puny.

``In the three years Asafa had a major champs race (2003, 2004 and 2005), he did his season best in the very next competition, about 12-14 days after,’’ Vazel told The Telegraph by email.

``This is not a mental problem, this man is tough to overcome humiliation from Osaka to break the WR at his very next race.

``Confidence comes from preparation, and this is where the problem lies for Asafa, more precisely enough races pre- champs and proper warm-up in order to not peak too late.

``He couldn’t respond to Tyson in the final due to lack of competition, not because he is weak mentally.

``He also did the mistake to not build his final race through qualification races, in stopping running in the last 40m, saving energy for sure but losing it teasing his opponents (including his cousin, Derrick Atkins, who would eventually beat him during the final) and lacking speed maintenance-specific rhythm.

``This habit to shut down before the finish line he started in 2006 to protect his hamstrings according his coach, made it difficult to find his own rhythm.

``This problem was actually solved in Osaka where he raced six races in one week (especially the relays where he had to come from behind), as opposed to 11 races in six months for the pre-Osaka season.’’

By summer- he means the Australian summer- our winter. Thoughts??

Good article but will “they” see it or more importantly heed the advice? I supposed time will tell.

The charts were sent to Doyle Mgment by a friend of mine but he didn’t hear back so far. I guess we’ll see.

The thing i am seeing a lot is, not just on this web site, but a few now, that Charlie is it seems Advertising Free info for all to see on how Asafa can and will win at the next Oly games.
Even if Asafa does not follow the advice, others who are Asafa’s competition possibly will. And, they could rightly assume Asafa would take head of this advice, and therefore, it would give his opponents either lots of confidence going into the Oly games or make them run very scared. ie, if they know asafa has run 15races before the Oly, then by race 18 or the “final” they will be pretty darn sure Asafa will burn up the track. However, if his competition knows Asafa has only run like 6races or so leading into the Games, how confident will they be in Running over the top of Asafa in the last 40m…
So, Asafa’s team had want to check out them graphs, as would Gays team in case Asafa does not and us it against him. :eek:

If Asafa follows what is, in fact, HIS OWN route to success, it won’t matter what anyone else knows. If he doesn’t, he’s done anyway!

Exactly, i also think it will give the guy who would normally come 4th the confidence to overtake a dying Asafa and put him out of 3rd and into 4th… knowing that Asafa has not prepaired right. But it looks as if Asafa wont really care, He loves winning, and anything else it seems just aint worth it. 2nd may as well be last… (thats it impression i get… i could be wrong??)
At least the guy coming 4th will be happy with a 3rd. Good news for him.

I guess somepeople wants to see the Olympic 100m Gold won by someone other than an American for a change. Ultimately we all want a great champion and sometimes people need help and the media is the easiest (only) way of getting the message out. Doyle and Franno are going to see this, whether they decide to act on it or not is another issue.

I told you that Mike has been hanging around CF forum. :slight_smile:

I like what he has written so far.

Good on ya mate!

haha, you should see Not many people put many posts up over there, but a lot of people have a look and never post. You should see the hits on the training journals, insane amount of hits on all journals. Other than the people actually using the journals, there has only been like 1or2 others to actually post in them, However 5or6 people cant rack up that many views.
What im saying is, you never really know Who is looking at what you have to post. Just cause they dont post, dont mean they dont look every single day just to see whats new.

but i do agree, he does write nice articles - hence the reason i guess his articles get shown around here from time to time?

One of the few journalists in the world actually interested in track and field rather than scandle.

Yeah, but I think he got it wrong about the Japan part in his opening sentence because I’ve heard the Japan indoor circuit collapsed, so if Asafa wants to race in that region of the world in Feb-March, then he may be restricted to Oz?

Mike knows some pretty impressive coaches doesn’t he…

Would love to see Asafa compete in Australia. I recommend Hobart.

So if you are reading this Asafa, Coach Foster and Management Team.

I have a spare room or two at my place…

I recommend Hobart.

Yeah, Asafa and seven sheep, in the race. :slight_smile:

Don’t knock Australia. I heard today that country will become a prime destination for climates refugees because on some models it has been predicted that the northern hemipshere will be screwed by the climate change coming fast, but downunder will be spared the worst of it. yeah, they’ll get floods to help put out the million hectare bushfires:eek:

Don’t knock Australia.

Tassie isn’t Aussie :slight_smile:

Isn’t that right, mate? :slight_smile:

tasmania is a small island off the south coast of australia… :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:

i can see the guys humour:D

I just spent a week in Sydney for the school holidays and was a bit of a coincidence that I was in Sydney when the Asafa Powell/Charlie Francis article appeared in the Sydney Telegraph last Friday.

Great to read an interesting perspective on athletics in an Australian daily, (especially from someone who has integrity and crediblity built up from a lifetime of passionate involvement in the sport). A bit of a rarity now days - especially in Adelaide.

Even better I got to have a coffee & chat with the author of the article, Mike Hurst for an hour and a half, on Monday (8/10/08).

Can’t divulge too much about the chat other than to say, he has a huge wealth of knowledge on elite athletics, and if he ever got the time, should probably write a book.

The north island is having issues, we Tassie people don’t suffer the they do :slight_smile: