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Gardener thinks Powell can be beaten at Commonwealth Games

1 December 2005

Asafa Powell Asafa Powell
One month after Jamaican 100-metre world record holder Asafa Powell declared his intention to win three gold medals at next March’s Commonwealth Games, Great British's number one ranked sprinter Jason Gardener has played down the Jamaican's chances of winning the 100m.

Gardener, a finallist at the last Games in Manchester, said he does not think Powell can reproduce his world record form at a major championship.

"I think he's (Powell) vulnerable and the jury is out whether he can perform at a major championship," Gardener said.

"The MCG in March will be a whole different ball game for Asafa and, as at any major championship, you have to win rounds and then the final. It's not just about getting yourself up for one race."

Gardener, the reigning World indoor 60metres champion from Budapest, Hungary, has a personal best of 9.98secs, and is optimistic about defeating Powell, especially with his injury problems this year.

"Anything can happen and for everyone to say Asafa is a sure thing at the Games should be careful," the Olympic relay gold medallist said.

"He's had injuries this year and missed quite a few meets, so absolutely there's doubt there.

Gardener has proven his abilities at major championships with five indoor titles, including back-to-back IAAF World Indoor Championships titles and he fancies his chances of producing over the 100m too.

"The 100m will be virtually a world championship or Olympics. The depth in sprinting among Commonwealth runners is incredible but I've beaten most of them and that's encouraging as I want to be on that rostrum."

Gardener is not the only athlete who has raised doubts whether Powell can reproduce his 9.77secs run.

Australian 100m record-holder Patrick Johnson at 9.93sec, said he and several of the country's top sprinters, including Daniel Batman are confident in providing a strong challenge to the fastest man in the world.

"We've got to keep moving the level of sprinting in Australia up," Johnson said.

"I've gone to the highest level but I want others to come up too. I am looking at another three or four years and I've got to encourage these guys that they can start running super quick.

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"The MCG in March will be a whole different ball game for Asafa and, as at any major championship, you have to win rounds and then the final. It's not just about getting yourself up for one race."" target="digg"> Digg

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