Franno on Gateshead

No world record attempt in Gateshead, says Powell’s coach
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

by Gary Smith
Caribbean Net News Sports Correspondent

KINGSTON, Jamaica: Stephen Francis, the coach of Jamaican joint 100-metre world record holder Asafa Powell, revealed that there was no attempt to lower the world mark in Gateshead at the weekend.

Powell, who shares the world record of 9.77-seconds with American World and Olympic champion, became the first man to dip under 9.80sec twice when he equalled his own mark at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix.

Lifting up at the start of the gun, Powell was the first to leave the blocks and adjust into his running form. At the halfway mark, the sprinter pulled away from his competitors, resulting in him becoming the only man to run the 100m record twice. However, despite his sizzling performance, Francis said there were no world record ambitions prior to the beginning of the race.

“We are not really going to have a plan to attempt the record as such,” Francis told local reporters following his return to Jamaica on Monday. “The plan was to correct certain deficiencies which he has had so we used the week between Oslo and Gateshead to look at his diet and to work on aspects of his start and finishing.”

Earlier in the season Powell had stated that he and his coach were working on new techniques to improve his sprinting and after seeing the Jamaican performance at the weekend, Francis said had his pupil ran a complete race, he would have lowered the mark.

"The plan was for him to go out there and run as technically sound a race as he could. If he knew he was going that fast then he would’ve probably broken the record by about three hundredths of a second.

In his interview with BBC reporters after the race, Powell said he knew his coach was upset with him for not running the closing metres of the race and Francis confirmed “had he run the last five metres or made a lunge at the finish line or that kind of stuff.”

At the IAAF World Athletics Tour Super Grand Prix in Doha, Qatar, on May 12, Gatlin equalled Powell’s record, which brought further heat to their rivalry and Francis insisted the American feat was a “wake-up call” for Powell and added that he’s confident the 23-year-old Jamaican superman will lower the world mark soon.

“I think the whole Gatlin issue was a good wake-up call for him,” Francis declared. "If he (Powell) continues to understand that he has to do all that’s required of him, then I think it (the record) will come as soon as early next month, depending of the right conditions …[IS HE HINTING AT ATHENS, JULY 3, kk]

“The objective is for him to run 9.8 at will in any kind of wind. If Asafa applies himself properly over the next three to four weeks, then he is certainly going to run a lot faster than he did in Gateshead.”

In the meantime, Powell followed American legends Jim Hines, Carl Lewis and Leroy Burrell as the only men to produce world record performances and he said this feat proves to the world he’s the best, adding that Gatlin, who withdrew from the race, was not missed.

“It’s a great achievement and I’m just proving to the world that I am the best and it wasn’t a mistake what I did before,” Powell said. “(Gatlin) wasn’t missed by anyone. I just went out there and showed that I can run fast with or without him … I didn’t even remember him.”

The joint world record holders are scheduled to meet at the Norwich Union London Grand Prix on 28 July 2006, Fast Track the organisers of the British meeting confirmed.