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Powell plans indoor season

2011-11-22 21:54

Brussels - Without an individual Olympic or world championship gold medal to his name, Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell is going indoors this winter in an effort to finally win a big one at next year's London Games.

Paul Doyle, the former 100-meter world-record holder's agent, said Tuesday that the prospect of Powell's last Olympics has pushed him to train harder, sensing it's now or never.

"Asafa has come in with a new attitude. Quite honestly, the best attitude we have ever seen him train with," Doyle told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "He is going to be ready to run indoors because he has been working so hard."

The Jamaican turns 30 next year and is coming off a 2011 season highlighted by early promise before he was forced to pull out of the outdoor world championships in Daegu, South Korea, in August with a groin injury.

Doyle said Powell will now run a few preparatory 60-meter races so he can target the March 9-11 indoor worlds in Istanbul.

In Powell's absence this year, Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake won the 100 world title in Daegu and Usain Bolt defended his 200 title before joining up to set a world record in winning the 4x100 relay.

And with Jamaican sprinting having unprecedented depth, Powell will have to be at his best to even make it onto the Olympic team after the national trials.

Doyle said, however, that Powell has undergone a fundamental change in attitude.

"He is getting to bed earlier than he has in the past. He is not partying anymore, nothing like that. He has a new outlook," Doyle said, adding Powell's total commitment is quite new. "Not just last year but most of his career, he worked hard - don't get me wrong - but he didn't do anything and everything he needs to do."

At a certain point last year, Doyle said Powell's coach Stephen Francis was even ready to give up on the sprinter, but over the past weeks coach Francis feels his attitude is renewed."

"He is aware that this is going to be his last Olympics and he wants to give everything he can," Doyle said.

It could provide for some spectacular indoor races. For a big man of 1.90 meters, he has an exceptionally explosive start and his outdoor splits at 60 meters put him among the best in the world. His 2004 indoor best of 6.56 seconds, however, is still far off Maurice Greene's 1998 world record of 6.39.

Indoor competition is only a stepping stone toward the London Olympics. And Doyle said Powell could come out of the winter stronger than ever.

Beyond his physical prowess, Powell's mental toughness has often been questioned since he has so far been unable to peak at big events.

As a relay runner, he has been outstanding. Ahead of the Jamaica's world record run in Daegu, Powell had anchored the two fastest relays in history, grabbing the baton from Bolt on the final bend to take it home for gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and at the 2009 worlds in Berlin.

AP