'Safa' ready to run fast at trials
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Former 100 metres world record holder Asafa Powell has already suffered two injury setbacks this season, but his coach Stephen Francis said his charge is raring to go for this week's Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association/Supreme Ventures Limited National Senior Championships at the National Stadium.
The meet will be used to help select Jamaica's team to the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, August 10-18, but there were major question marks over whether or not the two-time 100m bronze medallist would be able to compete for a spot on the team.
Powell, who was unable to compete at the last World Championships in Daegu, South Korea because of injury, started this season in similar vein, crashing out of the Stawell Gift Festival over the Easter weekend in Australia and pulling up during a low-key local development meet on May 18.
However, the 30 year-old, who looked fit, if not smooth, while bouncing up and down the Stadium East track during training yesterday morning, has taken a new approach and Francis expects it to pay dividends over the weekend and beyond.
"He (Powell) is as good as I have ever seen him, I think that if he gets through this (national trials) okay, he will be; certainly in another month's time or so, superb," Francis told The Gleaner. "I expect him to run extremely well at this Championships. These are his first sets of races this year and hopefully that will mean that he will have a longer summer."
Powell has also, for the past two months, been working alongside a personal trainer, and Francis believes that the results have been encouraging so far.
"Asafa likes being babied, it makes him feel more comfortable; my thing is that I just want him to train and stay healthy, and if it requires this (personal trainer), I can't be at his side telling him to do X and Y, because a lot of staying healthy for him means he has to do a lot of other things away from the practice field," Francis shared. "In the past, there wasn't anyone behind him telling him what to do. This guy serves that role and it seems like it's working."
Powell won 100m bronze medals at the 2007 and 2009 World Championships. He also held the world record between June 2005 and May 2008, with times of 9.77 and 9.74.