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12 Aug 2008 13:39
Former world record holder Asafa Powell says Jamaican compatriot Usain Bolt and American world champion Tyson Gay will not run him down if he takes the lead in their anticipated Olympic 100m final showdown.
“A lot of people are saying Usain and Tyson are very strong finishers, but if I get out in front of them, no matter how they are finishing, they won’t even close on me,” Powell told reporters on Tuesday.
Competition in the 100m begins on Friday with the final on Saturday.
“I did some great things in practice for the past couple of weeks,” Powell said. “This is the first time I’ve seen my coach so excited.
So all I have to do is go there and just be like I was in the last two races and I’ll do it.”
Powell edged Bolt by a one-hundredth of a second in their final pre-Olympics meeting in Stockholm, then clocked a season’s best 9,82 seconds to win the Monaco Grand Prix race.
That time made Powell the third-fastest sprinter of the year behind Bolt’s world record of 9,72 seconds and Gay’s American record 9,77 seconds.
Powell said the only disappointment during the run-up to the Games had been the number of drug tests he has been required to take.
“About two days ago, I got pretty upset because since I have been here they have tested me four times and took blood, a lot of blood,” Powell said.
“They are taking so much blood we are going to be very weak before the finals of the 100m,” he said.
“I don’t know about anybody else but they are really down on my case and my teammate, Michael Frater, and Usain.”
Powell added, though, that he accepted the importance of the testing and hoped officials caught everyone on performance-enhancing drugs so the Games could be clean.
Although much of the pressure is now on Bolt, Powell said Jamaicans were still expecting a lot from him.
“With me and Usain out there, it’s a big thing in Jamaica,” he said. “They expect us to be first and second, a world record and stuff like that.”
Powell said a future goal would be regaining the world record but the priority in Beijing was to win the gold, regardless of the time.
The 25-year-old has never won a global title, finishing fifth in the 2004 Olympic 100m and third in the 2007 world championships.—Reuters
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