Posted by Dresonic on May 11, 2007

THE long-awaited season debut of world 100-metre record-holder Asafa Powell in his pet event will take place in 18 days at the second AthleticsBet meet in Belgrade, Serbia.

Hampered by tenonitis in the knee for the past month, the 2006 IAAF Male Athlete of the Year pulled out of three meets – the Mt Sac Relays (April 15), Penn Relays (April 28) and last Saturday’s (May 5) Jamaica International Invitational.

However, agent representative of the MVP Track Club Paul Doyle has confirmed that Powell – the 2006 Commonwealth champion who registered a record 12 sub-10 seconds clocking last season, is fully recovered and will run his first competitive 100 metres in just over two weeks.

“Well, his first meet will be in Belgrade on the 29th of May,” Doyle told the Observer in an exclusive interview from Doha, Qatar, yesterday. He said Powell’s training partner Michael Frater, the 2005 World Championship silver medallist, along with some European athletes, will contest the 100 metres.

“It’s sort of a low-keyed meet and as an opener we figured it would be a good start for Asafa… it gives him enough time before the Eugene (Oregon, USA) meet, the Prefontaine Classic (on Sunday, June 10),” Doyle added, noting that the Jamaican star will have 12 days between both meets.
He also disclosed that Powell will compete at this year’s first Golden League meet – the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway – on June 15.

Powell – who twice equalled his world record 9.77secs on June 11 in Gateshead, England, and August 18 in Zurich, Switzerland, becoming the first man to legally run under 9.8 seconds on three occasions – won a share of the US$1-million Golden League jackpot by winning all six races in the series last season.
American quarter-milers Sanya Richards and Jeremy Wariner, who experienced similar success on the European Circuit, shared in the jackpot.

Doyle said Powell, who was sidelined for roughly three weeks because of the knee injury, after recording two personal best 400 metres times in January (47.67secs) and February (47.17 secs) has been running full tilt in training under the guidance of renowned coach Stephen Francis and his staff.

“He’s actually been training fine now,” Doyle said, adding that “for the past week or so, he’s been able to go 100 per cent.
“His block-starts has been great and he’s run some all-out 300 metres as well and everything is holding up with the hamstring and the knee, so he seems to be back to 100 per cent and working hard to make up for the three weeks (training) that he missed,” Doyle said.

With a career 25 sub-10 second clockings to his credit, which ranks him fourth on the all-time list behind American Maurice Green (52), Trinidad & Tobago’s Ato Boldon (28) and Namibia’s Frank Fredericks (27), Powell will be aiming to become the first Jamaican to win a world 100m title in Osaka, Japan, from August 25 and September 2.

“We’re still expecting nothing but big improvements for Asafa this year… he’s put in a lot of work during the winter in the months of January and February, running those 400s, so he has a lot of strength and base built up in him, so missing three weeks of intense training isn’t going to affect him too much. He’s still going to be able to have a very long and fast season,” Doyle said.
RIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – An upbeat West Indies team left here yesterday evening for England, to begin a four-Test series against the hosts.

The side is under the guidance of new captain Ramnaresh Sarwan and a changed management team following a failed World Cup campaign but remain hopeful of doing well against the No 2-ranked Test team.

“I expect the team to perform as well as they possibly can. That may sound pretty obvious but we haven’t had a lot of time to prepare ourselves before embarking on this tour,” Henderson Springer, the team’s assistant coach, told CMC Sports at the Grantley Adams International Airport here prior to the team’s departure.
“I honestly think we can compete but it all depends on one, how we gel; two, the team spirit, the motivation from the captain, performances [and] all these sort of things.”

Sarwan is leading the side for the first time following Brian Lara’s sudden retirement from international cricket after the World Cup.
He is joined by Mike Findlay, who has filled the role of manager and David Moore, who has replaced Australian counterpart Bennett King as head coach of the side.
West Indies open their tour on Saturday with a three-day tour match against Somerset at Taunton before clashing with England in the first Test at Lords next Thursday.

Springer said he expected team spirit to be high as most members of the team had played with each other before.

“This is just the start of any type of gelling. As I said, we have not been together for a long period of time, lucky enough the guys have played with one another before and I’m looking forward to that being an important factor in the way we go about doing our team business,” the former Barbados coach and off-spinner said.
On their last tour to England in 2004, West Indies were whitewashed 4-0.


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