x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Asafa Powell withdraws from 100m at World Championships

Usain Bolt's biggest rival from the marquee event pulls out of the race in Daegu, South Korea, but could be back for the 4x100m relay.

DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA // Asafa Powell has been ruled out of the 100 meters at the athletics world championships because of a groin injury, eliminating the defending champion Usain Bolt's biggest rival from the marquee event.

Powell's manager Paul Doyle said that the injury sustained several weeks ago was still giving the fastest man of the season too much trouble.

He added that Powell could be fit by the time of the 4x100m relay during the final weekend of the championships. "The groin strain is still lingering," Doyle said. "He is not quite 100 per cent."

News broke of Powell's withdrawal by Michael Frater, who will now step in and compete in the 100m.

"I didn't come here expecting to run the 100m but unfortunately Asafa could not make it," Frater said.

Heats open on Saturday and the race is traditionally the highlight of the championships. It is also the opening race in Bolt's quest for three sprint gold medals.

Powell's absence will take much of the lustre off the 100m race with Bolt now a standout favourite to retain his title.

Former world record holder Powell is the quickest man in the world over 100m this year, having clocked 9.78 in Lausanne in June.

American rival Tyson Gay was injured in June and two other top performers are not in Daegu because of doping scandals, leaving Bolt with few credible challengers.

Powell had been running fast all through the season until he pulled out of the Crystal Palace Diamond League meet as a precautionary measure to protect his groin.

Doyle said it would take up to four more days to have a full recovery and did not rule him out for the September 4 relay final.

Doyle said the succession of three races over the weekend would have been too much at this stage for Powell.

"The running of the rounds would be problematic," he said. Doyle said the decision to pull out of the 100 was taken after extensive testing in Daegu. "The next day, it is still very sore again," Doyle said.