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Powell has 9.70 world record on his mind

7 June 2006

Asafa Powell of Jamaica wins 100-meter heat in a wind-aided 9.93 in the Pretontaine Classic at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. on Sunday, May 28, 2006. (Image of Sport) Asafa Powell of Jamaica wins 100-meter heat in a wind-aided 9.93 in the Pretontaine Classic at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. on Sunday, May 28, 2006. (Image of Sport)
Asafa Powell is tired of sharing the 100-metre world record with Justin Gatlin. He wants it back for himself.

The Jamaican sprinter plans not only to break the current mark of 9.77 seconds - but to smash it.

"Nine-point-seven seconds," Powell said Tuesday when asked how low he can take the record. "If I push myself to the limit, I would say 9.70."

Powell was in London ahead of Sunday's British Grand Prix in Gateshead. Gatlin had signed up to race at the same meet, but the American's agent pulled him out saying there never was a contract for the Olympic champion to run against Powell there.

"I wasn't surprised," Powell said about Gatlin's no-show. "I don't know why he pulled out, maybe he's not ready to meet me, but he pulled out for a good reason and he shouldn't be treated in a bad way."

Their showdown is likely to come at the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on July 28. A year ago, at the same meet, Powell pulled up with a groin injury while Gatlin won the race in 9.89 seconds.

"It's good for the sport and people are anticipating our meeting," Powell said. "It's like a boxing match - people need to see us go up against each other and it's good for us and the other athletes because it draws a lot more people."

"London is a very good track and I want to achieve something special there."

Powell doesn't want to race Gatlin more than twice to maintain a high level of interest and excitement about their head-to-head meetings.

"Neither of us wants to share the world record and I believe at some stage this year because of our rivalry, it will be broken," he said.

The Jamaican is determined to reclaim the record he set in Athens, Greece, in 2005. Having to share the mark makes it harder to enjoy. At the Qatar Grand Prix on May 12, Gatlin was initially credited with breaking the record in 9.76, but the time was later rounded up to 9.77.

"I have my suspicions," Powell said about Gatlin's time. "Normally people don't manually adjust times - whether it's 9.76 or 9.77 - but I don't want to make any bad comments about people, so I don't want to get into that."

Even with the absence of his rival this weekend, Powell is looking to maintain the pace he has set this season. He won the 100 at the Bislett Games in Oslo last week in a time of 9.98.

"The plan is to win all my races," Powell said. "Last year I didn't really get to finish the season as well as I wanted to but this year I'm back and I started winning in Oslo and now I just want to continue the winning streak."

Powell hasn't been as quick as Gatlin this year, although he has consistently won races against world-class opposition.

"I have still been holding on a little from the injury, but give me two more races and I'll be all right," he said. "I'm also practising something new my coach has devised and shortly, I expect to be regularly running 9.80s, as I'll have much more speed."

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