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Powell to start Olympic preparation in Australia

29 November 2007

World 100 metres record holder Asafa Powell will open his Olympic year campaign by training and then competing in two high-profile Australian meetings.

The 25-year-old Jamaican will race in the Sydney Athletics Grand Prix on February 16 and five days later at the IAAF World Athletics Tour meet in Melbourne.

“I am very excited about coming back to Australia. My experiences at the Commonwealth Games were amazing,” said Powell winner of the 100m title in Melbourne in March last year. “I can really feel the support of the people of Australia. Nowhere outside of Jamaica have I felt so welcomed and supported by a crowd.”

He added: “The Australian fans are top notch.”

Powell is determined to atone for his poor display at this year’s World Championships 100m final, when he was beaten into third place by Tyson Gay and Derrick Adkins.

The Commonwealth champion did bounce back to lower his world 100m record to 9.74 seconds in September, but the loss to his American and Bahamian rivals still rankles.

September’s record-breaking performance in Rieti saw Powell awarded the International Athletics Foundation’s Male Performance of the Year Award in Monaco on Sunday.

Powell will travel to Australia on February 9, with other members of his training group and coach Steve Francis.

His manager, Paul Doyle, said: “The reason we will be coming back to Australia is quite simply because we love it there.

“I don’t think there is any other place in the world where the public is so into sport. My experiences in Sydney (Olympic Games) in 2000 and Melbourne in 2006 were just mind blowing.”

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