Powell happy in Oslo

By Luke Phillips
OSLO, June 13 AFP - Jamaican Asafa Powell headlines the first of the six-meet Golden League series on Friday hoping to snag a second jackpot en route to world gold in the 100m later in the summer.
The 24-year-old was without peer over the men’s blue riband event last season, unbeaten in 16 outings and twice equalling his own world record of 9.77sec.
After missing out on the 2005 world athletics championships in Helsinki through injury, the powerful Jamaican sees the Bislett Games as the ideal European launch pad for a push for top podium spot come this year’s worlds.
``Since running 9.97sec for 100m in Belgrade on May 29, my training has gone extremely well and I am very confident that I can combine the twin goals of a successful Golden League campaign with gold medal winning performances at the World Championships in Osaka,’’ Powell said.
That Belgrade run was the 26th sub-10sec timing recorded by Powell, who shared last year’s one-million-dollar jackpot with American 400m runners Jeremy Wariner and Sanya Richards.
His main challengers at Bislett on Friday will be Trinidad’s Darrel Brown, the 2003 world silver medallist who has won three races this season, his most recent in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday at the Prefontaine Classic.
The field also includes double European sprint champion and Olympic silver medallist Francis Obikwelu, African record holder Olusoji Fasuba, and American Marcus Brunson.
Craig Mottram will compete in the Dream Mile.
The Australian crushed a world-class field to win the two-mile race at the Prefontaine Classic in Oregon last weekend.
Mottram slashed nearly eight seconds off his own Australian record to win in 8 minutes 03.50 seconds.
Friday’s women’s 400m promises to be a thrilling showdown between Richards, who returned from illness to a win at Eugene, her 19th straight victory over the full-lap, and Briton Nicola Sanders.
Sanders claimed the indoor European title in March and her time of 50.02sec was a clear indication that she could soon be a concern for the impressive Richards.
Other events counting for the Golden League jackpot are the 1500m, 110m hurdles, triple jump, and javelin for the men, and 100m, 100m hurdles, high jump, and pole vault for the women.
Successful claimants of the $US1 million ($A1.19 million) jackpot must win their event at all six meetings of the Golden League - Oslo, Paris, Rome, Zurich, Brussels and Berlin.
However, should no athlete manage to attain six wins and claim the jackpot, then anyone with five victories will share half the original prize - $US500,000 ($A596,338).
All winners must compete at the IAAF World Athletics Final to be eligible for their share of the jackpot.
Other star attractions in Oslo include world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva in the women’s pole vault, an event she seems set to dominate and, barring catastrophe, it is difficult to see her not netting a share of the jackpot.
More keenly-contested is sure to be the women’s high jump.
Three women have already jumped higher than two metres this season, and all three - Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic, reigning World champion Kajsa Bergqvist, and freshly-minted Italian record holder Antonietta Di Martino - will be among the starters.