Friday, November 30, 2007

Asafa Powell Going Down Under

The maneuvering by track and field athletes, coaches and managers has begun. They are hoping the proper strategy will deliver a berth to Beijing.

Otherwise, those reservations for Beijing won’t be necessary.

The road to Beijing 2008 Olympics has officially begun with Asafa Powell’s love affair with boisterous Australian track fans.

Yesterday, Powell and his manager, Paul Doyle, announced his first race in 2008 will be the Sydney Athletics Grand Prix on 16 February.

Five days later he will run at the IAAF World Athletics Tour meet in Melbourne (21 Feb). Meanwhile, more and more runners are skipping the indoor track and field season all together and opting for races in warm weather climates.

Asafa and his crew will travel to Australia on February 9 with coach Steve Francis.

Powell has been criticized by track legend Michael Johnson and others for his lackluster performance at this year’s World Championships 100-meter final race. He was beaten by American Tyson Gay and Bahamian rival Derrick Adkins.

Asafa resurrected his season by lowering his own World Record to 9.74 seconds in September. The race still could not quiet murmurs that Powell disappears on the major stage.

MJ contends that Asafa is not a competitor at all—that he can’t win the big races, and his fast times are in races with nothing on the line.

Powell has been unfazed by his critics, and his eyes are locked on getting things started in Australia

By Jay Hicks

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