Powell admits giving up in 100m final

Jamaican world record holder Asafa Powell admitted on Monday that he gave up during his world 100m final showdown with new champion Tyson Gay.

“When I saw I wasn’t in gold medal contention, I gave up. I just stopped running,” Powell told Reuters in an interview on Monday, less than 24 hours after he lost to the American.

“I said to myself there was no coming back from this.”

The loss was a major disappointment, since Powell has never won a global title despite having run a world record 9,77 seconds three times.

“I am not sure what is happening, but I can’t be negative right now,” said Powell, who failed to medal in the 2003 World Championships and 2004 Olympics before missing the 2005 World Championships through injury.

“I felt very free, very relaxed before the race,” he said, reflecting on Sunday night’s drama.

“But when Tyson came on and gave me a little pressure, I just panicked.”

The leader through the first half of the highly anticipated race, Powell faded to third behind Bahamian Derrick Atkins as Gay roared to his first global title.

“In the middle of the race, the pressure got me,” Powell said.

He promised to make amends by breaking his world record before the end of the year.

“I didn’t get to run fast at these world championships but I am going to bounce right back,” Powell said. “I am going out there and I am going to give a world record.”

He said he looked forward to racing Gay again soon, perhaps in Brussels next month.

“We both can bring some excitement to the sport,” Powell said. “He will win some races and I will win some,” Powell said, adding that the favourite for Beijing would not be decided until next year.

Smiling and laughing, he seemed buoyed by an overflowing turnout at an appearance at sponsor Nike’s downtown Osaka store.

“This was a good bounce-back,” Powell said. “People are sitting out there cheering for me. It’s a big motivator for me.”

But there is work still to be done on his sprinting.

In a store game testing 1m sprint ability, the world record holder could come only 31st best.—Reuters

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