x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Powell eyes world mark in Doha

Jamaica's No 2 sprinter aims to better Bolt's time at Diamond League meeting in Qatar and is confident of going below 9.58seconds.

Powell, left, had finished third at last year's World Championships in Berlin when Bolt ran a world record time of 9.58secs to win gold.
Powell, left, had finished third at last year's World Championships in Berlin when Bolt ran a world record time of 9.58secs to win gold.

Asafa Powell will be racing to reclaim the 100 metres world record from Usain Bolt in Doha tomorrow. "I'll be going out there to give my best and if my best is better than the world record I'll be happy," said Powell The 27-year-old Jamaican sprinter is the hot favourite to open his IAAF Diamond League campaign with victory in the Qatar capital, the first of 14 meetings to be held around for the world for a total prize fund of US$6.63million (Dh23.13m).

Nesta Carter, another Jamaican, is the fastest man in the field so far this year, with a time of 10.09 seconds clocked in Kingston earlier this month, but Powell is accustomed to operating below the 10-second mark, having dipped beneath it a record 60 times in his career. Powell, who finished third at last year's World Championships in Berlin when Bolt ran a world record time of 9.58secs to win gold, feels the mark is within his reach.

"It's something that I'm confident I can go below," Powell said on a visit to the Al Jazeera Children's Channel headquarters. "I've been feeling good so far since the start of the year so I'm thinking positive." Powell's lifetime best of 9.72secs, set in Lausanne two years ago, is the joint fifth-fastest in history. If he had been racing in any other era, Powell would be the undisputed No 1. Bolt and Tyson Gay, his two rivals, are the only two athletes to have gone quicker, but Powell is far from disappointed at having the limelight taken from him.

"No, I'm not feeling unlucky," he added. "This is the best time to be in the sport, when the sport is at the highest level. The sport has never been at this level before so what better time to be in the sport? "It's driving me, I'm still up there in the spotlight. "Although Usain is the main man right now, I'm still there and I'm running very well. "I have nothing to be worrying about, just to try to compete and run very fast."

The British presence in Doha will be headed by Christine Ohuruogu, the Olympic champion who faces a very strong field in the 400m. Sanya Richards-Ross, the world champion, was last week forced to withdraw though injury, but Ohuruogu will still be up against Debbie Dunn, the world indoor champion, Shericka Williams, the Olympic and World Championship silver medallist, Novlene Williams-Mills and Allyson Felix, the three-time world 200m champion. * PA