Asafa Powell warns sprint king Usain Bolt: Now is my time
By Alex Spink, Athletics Correspondent 9/07/2011
AVIVA BIRMINGHAM GRAND PRIX: ALEXANDER STADIUM, SUNDAY
Asafa Powell has backed himself to beat sprint king Usain Bolt and dethrone the World 100 metres champion.
The former world record holder is on a high after clocking the fastest time of the year, a 9.78secs dash in Lausanne last week.
Powell, who competes in tomorrow’s Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix, said: "I definitely feel that this year I can get the gold medal.
"I proved to myself in Lausanne that I’m in good shape and ready to really run fast.
“I want to break my personal best this year. If I do that I should be the winner at the World Championships.”
Bullish words from a man yet to win an individual gold in either the Olympics or World Championships.
Despite boasting eight of the 20 fastest 100m times in history - headed by a 9.72 in 2008 - he has failed to perform when it matters most.
So why should it be any different this year for Powell who, before Bolt burst onto the scene, held the world record for almost thee years.
“I’m healthy and when I’m healthy I run fast, and when I run fast I get a lot of confidence,” said the Jamaican, who stands to benefit from injury to Tyson Gay (below).
"Training your body to go this fast is not easy. You have to know your limits, when to push and when to back off.
“Right now I feel I’m the fastest man in the world, definitely. I have that belief. But ultimately the medal will be decided by who’s mentally strongest in the final.”
That is the bottom line and time and again Powell has been accused of lacking that mental toughness in championships.
He insists the issue has always been physical - hence the confidence he takes from being healthy 50 days out from the World 100m final in Daegu, South Korea.
“Staying fit is the challenge,” he agreed. "Part of me wishes I could stay in bed and not run between now and then. But that’s not practical.
“Certainly, though, if the weather this weekend is not suitable I won’t push my body too hard. It’s about peaking at the right time and now is not really the right time to peak.”
Up against Powell are no fewer than eight men who have run sub-10 seconds. Also in action are top Brits Phillips Idowu, Mo Farah and Dai Greene.
Despite suffering with a heavy cold, Bolt easily won the 200m at the Diamond League meet in Paris last night, leading from gun to tape and jogging over the line in 20.03, the third fastest time of 2011.
He comfortably beat France’s European champion Christophe Lemaitre and America’s Darvis Patton, powering around the bend before slowing to a jog and glancing up at the big screen as he crossed the line.
British performance of the night went to Chris Tomlinson, who set a new national long jump record in finishing second to Olympic champion Irving Saladino.
Tomlinson’s 8.35m leap bettered Greg Rutherford’s previous mark, from the 2009 World Championships, by 5cms.
Tomlinson briefly led the competition before Saladino summoned a jump of 8.40m. Rutherford was third with 8.27m.
FASTEST MEN THIS YEAR OVER 100M
1 Asafa Powell (Jam) 9.78 seconds
2 Tyson Gay (US) 9.79
3 Steve Mullings (Jam) 9.80
4 Mike Rodgers (US) 9.85
5 Michael Frater (Jam) 9.88
6 Ngonidzashe Makusha (Zim) 9.89
7 Usain Bolt (Jam) 9.91
1 Christope Lemaitre (Fra) 9.95
2 Jaysuma Saidy Ndure (Nor) 9.99
3 Dwain Chambers (GBR) 10.01
- See Asafa Powell and the world’s best athletes at the Aviva Series this summer. For information, go to uka.org.uk/aviva-series or phone 08000 55 60 56. All events live on the BBC.
Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/more-sport/2011/07/09/asafa-powell-warns-sprint-king-usain-bolt-now-is-my-time-115875-23258740/#ixzz1ReJ0t7IA
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