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Powell to start outdoor season with relays

12 March 2007

By Dave Ungrady

Jamaican Asafa Powell, the world record holder in the 100 meters, plans to begin his 2007 international outdoor season in April at two relay meets in the United States.

Powell will run the 4x100-meter relay at the 49th Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., on April 15 and the 113th Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania two weeks later.

Powell, 24, will be part of a team composed of runners from the Maximizing Velocity and Power track and field club based in Kingston, Jamaica. Other members of Powell's team scheduled to run with Powell in the meets include fellow Jamaicans Michael Frater, a silver medalist in the 100 at the 2005 world championships, and Ainsley Waugh as well as Darrel Brown of Trinidad & Tobago, a silver medalist in the 100 meters at the 2003 world championships.

Powell ran in the Mt. SAC relays in 2005, anchoring the 4x 100-meter relay team to a third-place finish. In that race, former world record holder Maurice Greene anchored his HSInternational team to victory.

"For us to get an athlete like Asafa Powell in our meet is huge," said Scott Davis, the meet director. "We're a junior college. We have no money. We have to rely on the good will of the agents."

Two American teams and another from HSI are scheduled to compete in the 4x100 meter relay at the 2007 meet. U.S. distance runners Alan Webb and Shalane Flanagan, as well as U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix, the 2005 world champion in the 200 meters, have expressed interest in the meet.

Powell ran twice in the Penn Relays, considered the top track and field relay meet in the world. He won the 100 in 2006 in a time of 10.10 and was part of a Jamaican 4x100 team that finished second to a U.S. team in 2004. The Penn Relays is part of the USA Track and Field Visa Championship Series and features a program called USA vs. the World. The teams compete against each other in a series of relay races.

In 2005, Powell set the 100-meter world record of 9.77. American Justin Gatlin tied the record last spring. Powell said last month that he would be satisfied if he runs the race this year in 9.75.

Powell has competed in three races this year in Jamaica. He finished fourth in a 400-meter race in January and ran a personal best of 47.17 seconds and won a 400-meter race for the first time at the University of West Indies Invitational in late February.

He ran the opening leg for the MVP 4x100-meter relay team that included Waugh, Brown and Frater at the Gibson Relays in Kingston on Feb. 24. The team failed to finish after the baton fell during the final exchange between Brown and Waugh.

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