The former world 100 meters record holder Asafa Powell is now in Australia to take part in the annual Stawell Gift Meeting and the Melbourne World Challenge which is scheduled for April 6 at the Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park.
Powell who arrived down under on Tuesday will first compete in Australia’s richest footrace, the Stawell Gift before turning his attention to the more prestigious Melbourne World Challenge, which is the first event at that level on the IAAF calendar.
Powell who has a personal best of 9.72 will face local media on Wednesday . The holder of the record for most sub 10 100m races, the Jamaican star, according to reports coming out of athletics Australia, told journalists on arrival “i have been really looking forward to my return to melbourne, now there is the new stadium with its blue track and i am looking to attack a sub-10 second 100m.
It remains as a goal for me to break 10 (seconds) in every continent.
Last year, Powell’s teammate Michael Frater ran brilliantly but also failed to progress past the semi-finals. It was a positive report from Frater which led to Powell returning to Australia — he won the gold medal in the 100m at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.
The next stop in the IAAF World Challenge Series will be the Jamaica invitational on May 4 and Powell has been invited but has not yet indicated his intention to participate.
The 30 year old in the meantime now becomes the second Jamaican in consecutive years after Michael Frater to compete at the event.
He is also the first 100 meter world record holder to run at Stawell in 62 years.
Powell held the 100m world record between June 2005 and May 2008, running 9.77 seconds three times before eclipsing that with 9.74 seconds in Rieti, Italy in September. The time stood until Usain Bolt set the first of three 100m world records when running 9.72 seconds in New York in 2008.
With a best time of 9.72 seconds, set in Lausanne post Beijing, Powell now sits at number four on the list of the fastest men in history, behind Bolt (9.58), their Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake (9.69) and American Tyson Gay (9.69).
No athlete in history has run more sub-ten second 100m times than Powell, who has achieved the feat on 88 occasions, although never in Australia. Despite winning the gold medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Powell clocked 10.03 seconds in both the semi final and final.
“I will need to be in sub-ten second shape and run a faster than a ten second hundred if I want to make the final I think,” Powell said.
“Michael told me about the great time he had last year and he came really close to making the final. I’ve watched the finals and know about Josh Ross and his win from scratch so I’d like to become the third man to do that,” Powell said.
Powell spends a lot of his time training on grass tracks at home and sees this as an advantage in his quest to join Ross and Madagascan Jean-Louis Ravelomanantsoa as the only men to win the Gift from the coveted scratch mark.
“Like most Jamaican sprinters, I’ve grown up running on grass and a lot of our training is dome on grass so that’s no problem. The handicaps are a different story though,” Powell said.
The 132nd Australia Post Stawell Gift carnival will be staged during the Easter long weekend from Friday 29 March to Monday 1 April 2013.
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