Asafa: This is my chance

Powell looks to seize world title chance By Associated Press

LONDON (AP) - Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell believes time is running out for him to win a global title as he gears up for the world championships.

Powell, who has the fastest 100-meter time in the world this season, will run at Crystal Palace on Friday. It’s the last Diamond League meet before the world championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt will not be competing in London, so Powell’s main concern will be avoiding injury.

Powell has twice won bronze at the world championships - in 2007 and 2009 - but the 28-year-old former world-record holder says he has yet to fulfill his potential.

[b]“Over the years, I’ve been making too many mistakes,” Powell said. "I’m a 9.7 sprinter, so if I’d been running like I should I would have been the gold medalist at these championships.

“Being in the sport for nine, 10 years, I haven’t been able to match up to my expectations. My time is running out right now, so I definitely have to get a lot more serious and make sure I achieve what I feel like I deserve.” [/b]

With a season-best time of 9.78 seconds - way ahead of Bolt’s 9.88 - and with 2007 world champion Tyson Gay sidelined by injury, the worlds represent Powell’s best opportunity to win a major title.

“I’ve been running well, posting some great times,” he said. “I’m very confident, I don’t have much time and I’m not going to waste my chance again.”

The field at Crystal Palace will include six men who have gone under 10 seconds this season. Only one, Michael Rodgers of the United States (9.85), is anywhere near Powell.

“It’s the last competition before the world championships, so I think everyone will be cautious and (want to) get out of this competition healthy,” Powell said. “The last race is always important, just to test everything and make sure everything is working fine.”
Bolt has already completed his preparations for Daegu, winning the 200 in Stockholm in his last outing. However, Powell admitted that he would normally expect his Jamaican teammate to have gone faster in the 100 by this point in the season.

“Yes, it has surprised me because seeing how he has run over the years, I would have expected maybe a 9.80 or something like that,” Powell said.

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The London Diamond League meet includes Olympic champion Dayron Robles going up against David Oliver of the United States in the 110 hurdles.

Oliver is the only man to have run under 13 seconds this year, though he played down the significance of their meeting.

“Of course, every time I run I want to win,” Oliver said. “But I’m pretty sure at the world championships I’m not going to be thinking about what happened at London or Prefontaine or Shanghai - it has no bearing on what happens out there.”

Competing in London for the first time will be 800 world-record holder David Rudisha.

The Kenyan will be up against Abubaker Kaki of Sudan, and they’ll be aiming to break the 25-year-old record of 1:43.22 set by Steve Cram for the fastest 800 in Britain.

“I’m looking forward (to it) because he’s a tough competitor and we have been giving each other stiff competition,” Rudisha said. “I had some injuries at the beginning of the season but it’s almost gone now and I’m picking up my shape. Hopefully I expect to run something like 1:42.”

Rudisha also revealed an unusual method of preparation - watching former track greats on the Internet.

“I like watching videos of runners on YouTube, like Sebastian Coe, Wilson Kipketer, Steve Cram - those are all great athletes,” Rudisha said. “I saw the way they used to run - their technique, their running style, the way they used to compete, their tactics, so I developed most of my tactics from there.”

Last year, Rudisha twice broke Kipketer’s world record, which had stood since 1997. Before Kipketer, the mark was set in 1981 by Coe - and Rudisha said that the man who is heading the 2012 London Olympics organizing committee had been a great influence.

“You see in the way Sebastian used to run, he was really strong, although he was small,” Rudisha said. “The way he set the world record, he was really running, he was fantastic, pushing in the last 200, all the way.”

The London Grand Prix is the 12th of 14 scheduled Diamond League meetings this season.

Out of London DL with a sore groin.

Chance over?

It’s probably the smartest thing he could have done. But he should not have misled the British media/public saying he was ready to roll in London. I wonder whether it really was the injury? Sometimes post activity soreness can indeed take several days to present. But I also wonder whether Asafa’s late withdrawal might have had more to do with the usual negotiations breaking down. Bolt refuses to run in London due to the British Tax system giving him such a hammering. Maybe Asafa’s people (Paul Doyle is his agent) could shed more light oin the reality.

I would not blame him for staying out of what I suspect were cool conditions race time (which could result in the type of injury mentioned).

But if it really is a sore or strained groin, it gives him precious time to heal, peak, and be ready for the heats in Deagu.

Ato tweeted that he heard that it was a money issue, but I would suspect there was more at play. He may have felt a bit tight, and with Nesta Carter pretty obviously threatening to go under 9.9x, he might have to push a bit, and what’s the point of that? If they would have really opened their wallets, maybe he would have ran, but I don’t blame him for blowing it off.


He really is injured and has withdrawn from the 100m. Replaced by Frater on the Jamaican team.