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Powell ponders double

22 December 2006

By Kayon Raynor

Hot on the heels of his most successful season, Jamaica's world 100-metre record-holder (9.77 secs), Asafa Powell, has revealed plans to do even better in 2007. In his fifth year as a professional athlete, Powell secured his first major championship medal - gold at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.

He also sped to a record 12 sub-10 second clockings on the European Circuit, including twice equalling his own world record; won a share of the US$1-million IAAF Golden League Jackpot, ended the year ranked No 1 in the 100 metres and followed up by being named Male Athlete of the Year.

"Next year is the World Championship year (in Osaka, Japan) and I just don't want people to expect anything different; we (MVP athletes) are going out there to put out all our best again and try to make the best of it and put Jamaica on top," Powell told the Observer last Wednesday.

"I had an awesome year. Sherone (Simpson) had an awesome year and there are a lot more athletes up there by MVP who are waiting to break out," he added. Earlier this year, Powell's agent, Paul Doyle, told the Observer that coach Stephen Francis was preparing the sprinter to run both 100 and 200 metres in 2007.

"We will see how the season progresses, but the plan right now is to consider doubling in the World Championships," he said.

Powell, who also registered his first sub-20 clocking of 19.90 seconds at the National Championships in July - his only 200-metre race of the season - has not ruled out the double.

"To do both events is kind of difficult, but it depends on how the season goes," said the 24-year-old, who created history by becoming the first Jamaican, and 14th man overall, to register sub-10 and sub-20 clockings in one season.

Only two other Caribbean athletes - Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago (5 times in 1996, '97, '98, 99, 2000) and Barbados' Obadele Thompson (2000) - have accomplished the feat.

Meanwhile, Stephen Francis spoke to the Observer about the club's plans for next season.

"I don't think we have much plans indoors. I'm not certain we are going to run at all, but if we do I know it won't be much," he said.

"We are expecting to have a great outdoor season. our athletes will start running at JC (development meet on January 6) and I'm expecting a lot from some of the juniors that I have," Francis noted.

A number of foreigners have joined the MVP outfit, including British high jumper Germaine Mason and sprinters Geraldine Pillay of South Africa, as well as Darrel Brown of Trinidad & Tobago.

"It's really a season that I'm very excited about and I can't wait because some of the performances I see in training mean that we should have a very good season next year," Francis added.

He is also upbeat about MVP's medal prospects at the 2007 World Athletic Championships.

"We're looking to have several medallists, not only representing Jamaica but representing other countries. Last year (in Helsinki) we didn't do badly because we ended up with four medals among us and this year we hope to at least double that," he declared.

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