Powell leads sprint chase of world beater Bolt
Usain Bolt better not be celebrating his 2008 success too much if he
wants to stay ahead of a hungry pack of sprinters, former 100 metres
world record holder Asafa Powell said on Thursday.
"If he is not working as hard as he did last year, he'll be in
trouble," Powell told reporters about his fellow Jamaican at a news
conference for Saturday's Reebok grand prix meet.
"You can get on top so fast, but you came jump back even faster. You
have to really work to stay on top because there are some guys coming at
you. You have to work harder and harder each year." Powell counts
himself as one of the gang chasing Bolt, who set world records in
winning the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 metres relay at the Beijing
Powell begins a 2009 quest to reclaim his 100 metres record on
Saturday in a race that also includes Olympic silver medallist Richard
Thompson of Trinidad. Bolt announced himself as a world beater last year
at New York's Reebok grand prix by breaking Powell's 100 metres mark of
9.74 seconds with a time of 9.72.
Bolt, who ran a spectacular 9.69 in the Beijing final, is skipping
the New York meet but his impact is unmistakable.
"It is the benchmark for sprinters worldwide," Thompson said about
Bolt's times. "Having run 9.6, all the people are going to be working
harder, working smarter. You're going to see more people running
faster." Powell, who has been sidelined this year by a left ankle
injury, held the world record from 2005 to 2008.
"Before I was the target so I know what it's like to be shot at," he
said. "Now Usain is the target. Everybody is going after him. I'm going
after him also. I think everyone is training to run 9.6 because Usain
showed that it's possible."
Bolt set his Reebok record in what had been billed as a duel against
2007 world champion Tyson Gay, who will be running the 200 metres on
"What Usain Bolt did in the Olympics was amazing," said Gay, who ran
a wind-aided 9.68 at the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials.
"It gave me a lot of confidence," he added about the time, fastest
ever over the distance regardless of conditions.
"I am looking forward to doing it legal."
NEW YORK, Reuters