Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
Taking a more cautious approach to this season, Asafa Powell may only compete in a couple of races before he tries to qualify for Jamaica's team to the IAAF World Championships in Russia at the National Championships set for mid-June.
The 30-year-old sub-10 king, who has been plagued by injury over the past few seasons, is still recovering from a hamstring strain he suffered at the Stawell Gift in Australia in late March, but has resumed training in preparation for the Diamond League circuit, where prior to the World Championships in Russia he plans to compete sparingly.
"Normally, we would be doing a lot of races and try to do something special and something happens," he said. "This year, I am taking it easy and being a lot more cautious."
That means being a lot more selective in the meets at which he intends to compete. He is still not certain about where he will compete. He was considering opening his season at the Jamaica International Invitational at the National Stadium this weekend, but doesn't feel he will be sufficiently recovered from the hamstring injury he suffered in Australia in late March.
"I know I was supposed to be running at the May meet and Qatar, but I am not sure, Shanghai as well. Coach is saying he doesn't want me to do more than two races before trials, so I don't know which two as yet."
In the meantime, the former 100-metre world record holder is doing everything to prepare for the challenges of going up against the world's best sprinters.
"I have been doing a lot more gym work. Coach would normally leave the gym work to the gym instructor, but now he is in the gym with us, he is overseeing everything so we can't slack up in the gym. So every day we're lifting, we doing something different. As a result, I am like 50 per cent stronger and everything is just different this year," he said.
Strength is one thing but as he ages, Powell also needs to have the kind of flexibility that will help his body stave off injuries like the groin condition that has plagued him since 2005. That, he says, is also an area of focus.
"We've been doing a lot of stretches after training. We have been doing a lot of work on the field as well, drills, all that kind of stuff for hips, for the groin, but most of all coach has been focused on the stretching.
"One doctor told me that a groin injury never goes away, you just have to monitor it and stay on top of it, so that's what I am doing right now, and I'll just be a lot smarter about it this year when I compete."