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Powell bracing for stern challenge at Prefontaine Classic

9 June 2007

By Gary Smith

Jamaica's sprint king Asafa Powell, the fastest man ever to run the 100m dash (legally) is bracing himself for a stern test in the men's 200m dash at the 2007 Prefontaine Classic grand prix in Eugene, Oregon, on Sunday.

The Jamaican returns in full confidence after a knee injury forced him to put his overseas. Powell dismissed the injury a sizzled a fast 9.97 seconds performance when he finally got his international season on the way in Belgrade, Serbia, on May 29.

After sitting out so long Powell came back and worked on his endurance to become race fit again and his manager Paul Doyle believes the injury was the main reason the record holder is listed in the 200m field.

"We wanted to get in a couple of runs," Doyle was quoted as telling Reuters news agency.

"When Asafa had the injury (tendonitis of the knee), he missed three weeks training.

"He started building his base again with longer runs and was feeling stronger, so we decided to run the 200."

The Commonwealth Games champion who has a career best of 19.90, achieved last season when winning the Jamaican National title, will be hoping to find that same form again when he comes up against the likes of Americans Wallace Spearmon, the in-form half-lapper this season, Olympic champion Shawn Crawford, Xavier Carter, the second fastest ever in the event and World and Olympic 400 meters champion Jeremy Wariner.

All eyes will also be on Jamaican-born World Athlete-of-the-Year Sanya Richards as she is set to finally make her debut in the early outdoor campaign.

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