Story written by EPelle
Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell, the current 100m world-record holder who is filled with confidence following a dream-filled 2006 season, claimed Friday to the Jamaica Observer, that his current off-season training is going superbly, and he is focussed on breaking his world record from the get-go when his outdoor season gets underway in a few months' time.
"And when the World Championships comes around it's to win that gold medal in the 100 and the (sprint) relay and if I'm doing any other event (200m) to win the gold medal and... finish the season healthy without injury and in perfect condition," he added.
Powell was recently selected the Commonwealth's Outstanding Male Athlete for 2006 following a list of accolades he has plucked along the way following his last race - a disqualification for a false-start at the Yokohama track and field meet in Japan.
Powell has been busy this off-season, taking home the prestigious Track & Field News Male Athlete of the Year award based off of professional votes collected around the world in addition to collecting the Jamaica Gleaner Sportsman of the Year and the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association awards.
I delivered the news to you on 20-December (read: Powell Considering Osaka Double) that Powell was considering doubling up at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka - possibly running the 100m and 200m dashes as well as the expected 4x100m relay.
The Jamaican, ranked number one in the world at 100m in 2006, recorded 12 sub-10,00 clockings over his specialty distance, twice equalling his world record of 9,77 seconds.
American Justin Gatlin also equalled Powell's original world-record of 9,77 in Doha in May, 2006, but has been suspended of his title pending a drugs charge levied against him after testing positive for testosterone or its precursors at the Kansas Relays last April. He risks an eight-year ban from the sport, something which will effectively retire him from professional sprinting in the future.
Powell, meanwhile, won every competition he finished, a false start in Korea his only blemish on the season.
American Tyson Gay appears on paper to be the closest competition to Powell, having run 9,84 and a pair of 9,88 marks in 2006 - his first year under 10,00. Gay broke 10,00 six times, and recorded sub 19,85 200m times. His 19,68 time is tied for the fifth-fastest time ever recorded. He is tied with Namibian Frank Fredricks as the fourth-fastest performer all-time in the distance.
Powell has broken 9,90 11 times in his career, with seven of those marks posted in 2006. A stronger, more driven Powell in 2007 may wreak havoc on record-keepers, as Powell sets his sights on taking down the 9,77 time he recorded in Athens two years ago, and subsequently tied in Gateshead in June and Zürich in August this past summer.
"I'm feeling a lot stronger... the work-load is heavier than last year and I'm managing a lot better, so that's why I'm so motivated," he stated to the Jamaica Observer.
Indeed, if Powell feels stronger and can handle the workload - and stay injury-free, the only limit on his potential over 100m will be one of physics.
Stay tuned for more.
2006 Commonwealth Sports Awards Winners (Full press release here)
Sports Administrator of the Year
1. Filbert Bayi (Athletics) TAN
2. Zainal Abu Zarin (Disability Sport) MAS
3. Jenny Shaw (Swimming) WAL
Outstanding Young Achiever
1. Melissa Wu (Diving) AUS
2. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (Gymnastics) CAN
3. Asif Hossain (Shooting) BAN
Outstanding Male Athlete
1. Asafa Powell (Athletics) JAM
2. Chris Hoy (Cycling) SCO
3. Alexandre Despatie (Diving) CAN
Outstanding Female Athlete
1. Alexandra Orlando (Rhythmic Gymnastics) CAN
2. Michaela Breeze (Weightlifting) WAL
3. Sherone Simpson (Athletics) JAM
Outstanding Male Elite Athlete with Disability
1. Matthew Cowdrey (Swimming) AUS
2. Benoit Huot (Swimming) CAN
3. David Roberts (Swimming) WAL
Outstanding Female Elite Athlete with Disability
1. Chantal Petitclerc (Athletics) CAN
2. Sue Gilroy (Table Tennis) ENG
Most Outstanding Team
1. Silver Ferns (Netball) NZL
2. Men’s Hockey Team AUS
3. M2006 Swimming Team SCO
Lifetime Achievement Award
1. Dr Bruce Kidd (Athletics) CAN
2. Owen Le Vallee (Administration) GUER
3. Dave Haller (Swimming) WAL