André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Jamaican sprinting star Asafa Powell is currently filling his 2013 calendar, but a return to the indoor circuit is not on the cards for the 30-year-old athlete, who yesterday confirmed an appearance at the Stawell Gift Carnival in Australia, March 29-April 1.
Powell competed indoors for the first time in eight years last season but failed to meet the qualifying standards for Jamaica's IAAF World Indoor Championships team, despite registering an impressive 6.50 seconds season's best.
However, the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games 100m champion will be making a much anticipated return 'Down Under', and according to his agent Paul Doyle, the 88-time sub-10 seconds sprinter is looking forward to competing at the event.
Doyle could not confirm whether or not this would be Powell's international opener, but noted that his client should feature locally before his trip to Australia.
"The plan is to run the Stawell Gift meet, it's something that we have been trying to get done for years," said Doyle during a telephone interview yesterday. "It's a pretty awesome meet ... Asafa is excited to get over there and compete.
"I think he and the coach (Stephen Francis) will decide on whether or not they will do the Gibson Relays or anything like that. He may do some of the early Jamaican races but I don't think he and the coach have decided on what they will do yet," Doyle added.
In addition to his preparation for the National Senior Championships and the IAAF World Championships, Powell's motivation will be aided by the $3.9 million prize that comes with winning Australia's richest race.
"I've been ready to come down a couple of times over the past few years but I'm happy to say that this year will be the year," Powell said.
Powell's return to the indoor circuit was big news last season, but Doyle noted that the three-time Olympic 100m finalist and two-time World Championships bronze medallist will be bypassing the 60m this year.
"He is not doing that (indoor) this year," Doyle said. "There is no reason in particular for that decision. Last year he was just trying something new, doing something different and having some fun with it, but that was really all that it was intended to do."
Doyle offered further updates on his client's preparation, noting that he has been working to correct the groin issue that affected him at the Olympic Games last year.
"This year being the World Championships, there will be a lot of focus on that, it's not as if the competition in Jamaica has got any easier, but then again, he is well, he is more mature and focused in what he is doing," Doyle continued. "He is spending a lot of time with the coach to put in a very good rehab programme to prevent his groin from getting injured again, so I think in every year he is getting better and better as an athlete, in terms of doing the things he need to do to stay healthy."
Powell is the fourth-fastest athlete in history with a personal best of 9.72. He twice broke the 100m world record within a three-year span.