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Asafa Powell promises world record run

17 August 2007

Jamaica’s Asafa Powell touched down in Japan on Tuesday for the World Athletics Championships intent on lowering his own 100 metres world record.

The world’s fastest man arrives in Osaka in fighting form ahead of his showdown with American Tyson Gay, declaring that his world record of 9.77 could be under threat.

“It’s a fast track in Osaka,” said Powell ahead of the championships, which get underway on 25 August and run until 2 September.

“If conditions are right I could set a new world record.”

Gay has clocked a season’s best 9.84 this year and his much-hyped clash with Powell is set to be the highlight of the championships. “I’m looking forward to [racing him],” added Powell, whose arrival in Japan had been delayed by visa problems. “But the most important goal is to win the gold medal.”

Meanwhile, Carolina Kluft, another medal contender, has sent out a strong message to British rivals Jessica Ennis and Kelly Sotherton before their clash at the championships.

The Swede put together an impressive package of displays when completing her preparations for Osaka, where the heptathlon will take place on the first two days. The 24-year-old is favourite to win a third successive title, with Ennis and Sotherton both in the mix for a medal.

Before leaving for Japan, Kluft produced four encouraging performances in poor weather at the Swedish Championships in Eskilstuna. The Olympic champion was third behind the Kallur twins - Susanna and Jenny - in the 100m hurdles, clocking 13.66secs into a strong headwind and a downpour of rain. She then set a series of season’s bests, high jumping 1.92metres, throwing 14.45m in the shot and producing a javelin throw of 44.79m.

One athlete who will not be in action in Osaka is former world pole vault champion Giuseppe Gibilisco, who yesterday failed to get his two-year doping ban lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

CAS has refused to hear his appeal, saying it does not yet have jurisdiction in the case. The ruling means the Italian athlete’s ban remains in place and he is ineligible to compete at the worlds.

Gibilisco had requested that his suspension be lifted temporarily until the end of the appeals process in order for him to take part in Japan. But CAS said he had not yet exhausted all appeals processes through the Italian athletics federation (FIDAL) and Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).

“Therefore, only a final decision at the level of the Italian sports authorities could possibly be reviewed by the CAS at a later stage,” the court said.

FIDAL imposed the ban on 18 July after a hearing with Gibilisco. CONI had recommended the maximum ban for “the use or attempted use of a banned substance or method”.

Gibilisco and several other athletes have been linked to a four-year-old doping investigation known as the “Oil for Drugs” case, which centres on Italian doctor Carlo Santuccione, who allegedly supplied doping substances. Gibilisco, who won the world title in 2003, is among a growing list of Italian athletes suspended for doping without testing positive.

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