International Athletics

Powell fills Bolt's shoes and targets PB

2015-07-02 22:00
(File, AP)

Paris - Asafa Powell will attempt to fill the sizeable shoes of injured Jamaican compatriot Usain Bolt in the 100m at Saturday's Diamond League meet in Paris, still keen on lowering his personal best of 9.72 seconds - the fifth fastest time ever.

The 32-year-old takes over star billing in the track's blue ribbon event after Bolt pulled out with a problematic pelvis injury.

"I'm very happy to be back," beamed Powell, who won Olympic gold in the 4x100m relay alongside Bolt in 2008 in Beijing, which will also host next month's world championships.

Very difficult

"I've always been at the top with the big names. It was unfortunate for me to fall back, but now I'm back on top with the big guys," he said in reference to a one-year ban he served for testing positive in 2013.

That ban was cut by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with Powell going on to sue the supplement company "for putting a contaminated substance in the supplement.

"I don't know how anyone else deals with a ban, but for me it was very difficult to know that it wasn't my fault why anything happened," Powell said.

"I'm in a good place now and want to focus on the positive and the future."

Powell said the form of American duo Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay, who have both also served doping bans, would keep him on his toes - with the trio set to meet at next week's Diamond League meet in Lausanne.

"My personal best is 9.72s (set in 2008), so at my best I know I can run that. But I want to run another personal best, that's what I'm focused on, not anyone else," he said.

"Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin are both running well."

Running fast

Powell lamented, however, the absence of Bolt from the Paris meet and expressed hope he would be fit for the August 22-30 world championships.

"Usain's not there, but it's good for the sport to have him there because he's the number one athlete right now and world record holder," he said.

"It's good to have him in the race to draw the crowd and excitement."

Powell added: "Usain's been running fast for years and I don't see why he shouldn't come back and run fast.

"It's just a phase - we all get injuries. I've been injured over the years and am still running fast, so it's just for him to get over this and come back for the world championships and next year."

Read more on:    diamond league  |  asafa powell  |  france  |  athletics

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