'I am in the medal mix' - Powell backs himself for 100m glory
With all the talk about a Usain Bolt/Justin Gatlin clash in the 100 metres heading into the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, one can be excused for forgetting that another Jamaican speedster Asafa Powell is also in the medal mix.
It’s a shame really.
Powell arrived in Beijing as the second fastest man on the planet with his 9.81 seconds season's best bettered only by Gatlin and having posted seven sub-10 seconds times.
Under normal circumstances, it would be criminal to write off a man with such an impressive record and a history of high - level performances. The thing is, Powell will not easily shake his reputation of being an athlete that more often than not fails to deliver when it really matters - at major international championships.
Still, he does have two World Championships bronze medals to his name and he does carry a greater sense of calmness and confidence about him these days, but despite the cold shoulder he’s receiving from the pundits, Powell remains convinced that this may be his shot and actually welcomes the fact that most eyes are focused elsewhere.
“I don’t mind, let them focus on whoever they want to focus on and leave me out of it, let me do what I am supposed to do. Everyone has their own opinion and beliefs. I believe in myself and I am going out there to show them that I am there,” Powell told The Gleaner yesterday during an interview at the Nuo Hotel in Beijing.
“I’m in gold medal shape, I am one to contend with and I am going out there to give everything I have and I will definitely run fast here,” added Powell, whose camouflage pants matched his militant attitude.
“Come Sunday when we cross the finish line (after men’s 100m final), I want to be the one in front, that would be the most satisfying thing for me because over the years I have been running and I’ve not been able to get that individual gold medal yet so that’s really my aim,” said Powell, who added that he isn’t too worried about Gatlin’s form or Bolt’s ability, noting that his focus is to execute his own race.
“I know that they are in the race with me but I try to focus on my own thing there’s nothing you can do to avoid competing with these guys so it doesn’t make sense to make them be your problem. My problem is to execute my race and run like I’m supposed to,” Powell continued.
“It’s a good feeling to be back, we have a lot of great memories here in Beijing. At the 2008 Olympics the Jamaican team came here and dominated and we left our signature here in Beijing so it's good to be back, I think everyone remembers that and they are coming out to see the Jamaican team again,” Powell added.
The heats of the men's 100m get started at 6:20 a.m. Jamaica time on Saturday.