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Asafa Powell has vowed to run 110m every race this year

21 February 2008
www.news.com.au

By Scott Gullan

That may sound strange given he is the fastest 100m runner on the planet, but it is deemed necessary if the Jamaican is to win gold in Beijing.

This new-found thinking may not be put into practice tonight at Olympic Park, but the fact Powell is even a 90 per cent chance of running is a miracle of sorts.

Powell's cut knee, which has captivated Melbourne since his arrival last week, went from sore and stiff to free and ready to go within 24 hours yesterday.

After breezing through a solid training session, the world record-holder declared he would delay making a decision until 30 minutes before tonight's 8.17pm start time.

"I will just come to the meet preparing to run and if I can't come out of the blocks (in the warm-up) then it is bad luck for me," Powell said.

"But if I can come out of the blocks at, say, at least 90 per cent then I'll run.

"I can bend it and that's what I wanted. The pain that I had yesterday is gone, but it will be the starting blocks that is going to decide."

He said there might be some "hesitation" given this was his first race, but the number 110 had been drilled into his head by coach Stephen Francis since last year's world championships disappointment.

"Sometimes I used to wonder to myself if I really run across the line I might win by too far," Powell said.

"So that is our goal this year, to run right to the line, to run 110m. It was a bad habit I had and I am working to get rid of that, looking to clean it out of my system."

On the eve of what should be his opening race of the Olympic year, Powell revealed how he was motivated to win in Beijing to bring happiness back to his family.

The 25-year-old is the youngest of six brothers, two of whom died in quick succession -- Michael during a shooting in New York in 2002 and Vaughn from a heart attack a year later.

Powell's parents, the Reverends William and Cislyn Powell, are both pastors in the Church of God in the rural St Catherine area of Jamaica.

After his shock loss in Osaka last year, Powell said it rocked his world more than he had expected.

"My mother was very sad and was worried about how I was feeling," Powell said.

"They knew the type of pressure I was under and my capabilities.

"I lost my brothers a couple of years ago. It was very sad (but) I have recovered from that and I'm just out there trying to bring some light and happiness into the family. I think that's my job."

He is also hoping to lift the spirits of his country where he is the No. 1 sportsperson.

Even the Kingston gangsters are big fans.

"They are the ones who really show the most love and the most respect towards me," Powell said. "In 2004 at the Olympic Games, they had the lowest crime rate in the country when the Olympics were going on."

Everywhere he goes in his hometown he is given advice.

"There is a lot of pressure on me in Jamaica. I think I have the most coaches in the world. Everyone has their opinions on what happened," he said.



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