Asafa Won't Ease Up in 2008

Powell warns rivals ahead of season opener

KINGSTON (AFP) — World 100m record-holder Asafa Powell warned his rivals that he will be going all out in the upcoming season, which likely will begin for him at a Jamaican meet here on January 26.

Powell said the 2008 season would not be like 2007, where he settled for bronze at the World Championships, hinting that he would accept nothing less than the gold at the Beijing Olympics.

“This year if everything goes according to plan, there’ll be no stopping me,” he told reporters. “I’ll be going all out. I will not be easing up or holding back on anyone.”

Tyson Gay claimed the sprint double sweep at the World Championships in Osaka last year while critics claimed Powell avoided the US star. Powell said he will be ready to face all challenges this year.

“It’s just going to be some serious stuff out there. I’m not backing out of anything so I believe I’ll go unbeaten,” Powell said.

After the World Championships, Powell returned to break his own world record of 9.77 seconds by running a 9.74 in Rieti, Italy last September - a run voted the IAAF’s Top Performance of the Year.

“In 2006 I was injury-free and I did excellent so I’m hoping I’ll be back to that kind of shape and just stay healthy,” he said.

Powell said his training efforts have pleased coach Stephen Francis.

“I’m training harder than usual and the coach is impressed,” Powell said. “My legs are holding up quite well so far.”

Powell plans to stage a training camp in Australia and race in two meets there after a probable return to competition in two weeks at an area meet.