Powell 200 at JA Champs

Powell set for 200m at Jamaican championships
Friday, June 23, 2006

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AFP): Joint 100-metre world record holder Asafa Powell will be chasing his first national 200m title at this weekend’s Jamaican Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.

Powell, a finalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics over the distance, said he has been forced to run the 200m, which has its preliminary round on Saturday.

“It was kind of shock when I heard I was going to run the 200m,” Powell said.

Powell’s last 200m was in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, last May, but after entering the home straight in total command, he pulled up with a groin injury.

“I am over the injury, but I am not sure I am ready for the 200m right now … because of a little fear,” he said after a training session at the National Stadium east complex.

In the absence of reigning national champion and world junior 200m record holder Usain Bolt, Powell will still have to contend with 2001 World Championships silver medallist Christopher Williams.

However, according to Powell, Bolt would be his only threat.

“If he (Bolt) is not there then I can win comfortable,” he said.

But he added he didn’t plan to push to his maximum.

“I just don’t want to go out there and pressure my groin or my leg on the curve,” he said.

Powell’s personal best over the half-lap distance is 20.06 seconds, but don’t expect him to do anything to better that time.

“I am going there to try and win as comfortable as possible,” he added.

“I just came off a 9.77,” said Powell, who equalled the world record he now shares with American Justin Gatlin of 9.77sec at Gateshead, England, on June 11.

“Last year I ran it (9.77) and I got real sore, and got injured at trials, and I don’t want to make the same mistake again,” he added.

Powell said he wouldn’t mind sitting out the weekend entirely, but for the belief that the national championships deserve support.

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games 200m champion Sherone Simpson will be seeking her first national title when she chases the sprint double in the absence of injured Veronica Campbell.