Sprinter Powell gets faster at Diamond League comeback

Paris, July 5 (IANS) Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell lived up to his name here, running the third fastest 100 metres of the year to win in 9.81 seconds at the Paris Diamond League meeting.

The former world record holder on Saturday chopped 0.03 seconds off his previous season’s best for the title, beating local favourite Jimmy Vicaut to the second place as the Frenchman equalled the European record of 9.86 seconds, reports Xinhua.

Michael Rodgers of the US was third with a time of 9.99 seconds, missing a chance of narrowing down the deficit to his countryman and Diamond Race leader Justin Gatlin.

“It was a great race today,” said Powell whose winning time is 0.07 seconds off pace of Gatlin’s world leading record of the season. “I worked on my start last week and it paid off.”

The sprinter won Jamaica’s trials a week ago with 9.84 seconds to earn a spot for August’s World Championships in Beijing, while Usain Bolt, who pulled out of the Paris meet at the last minute, skipped the national event.

It has been the first Diamond League meeting of Powell after he stepped out of the shadow of a doping suspension.

He tested positive in 2013 and was banned last year by a Jamaican disciplinary panel, before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced the ban period to six months.

Powell, who will also test form at next week’s Lausanne DL meeting before the August 22-30 Worlds, was satisfied with his run in Paris but saw room to improve further.

“It was a confidence booster before Lausanne, but I’m always confident,” he said.

“At the end I got too excited and did not run that smooth,” added the 4×100 metres relay winner in Beijing 2008 alongside with Bolt. “So that means I want to run faster in my next races.”

The 32-year-old was just feeling good though time went by for seven years since he last set a world record.

“Now it is proved that I’m in my best shape maybe in last seven years or so. And remember, age is just a number,” he said.

Powell was the first Jamaican having seized the limelight as he lowered the 100 metres mark to 9.77 seconds in 2005 and then 9.74 seconds in 2008 before being eclipsed by Bolt.


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