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Powell prefers Beijing gold to fastest man alive title

9 June 2008

Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell, who lost his world record to countryman Usain Bolt last weekend, said he prefers a gold medal in Beijing to being known as the fastest man in the world.

"The world record is easy," said Powell, who is in Eugene to watch the Prefontaine Classic on Sunday. "The real challenge is getting the gold medal."

Powell said in this day and age the true test of the world's top sprinter is the one who captures gold, because the Olympics are more of a battle of attrition rather than blazing speed.

"To get the gold medal there are four rounds to run, so it is not the fastest but who can endure it to the end," he said.

"You just have to run one race for the world record so it is easier."

Easy or not, Powell was dethroned as the world's fastest man last weekend in New York when his Jamaican compatriot Bolt lowered the mark by 0.02 of a second to 9.72 seconds.

Powell said he has no plans to get into a world record duel with Bolt. But he did congratulate his countryman on Saturday.

"It was a great performance," Powell said. "He is very talented, and I am happy for him.

"He is from my country so it makes me happy we can keep the world record in Jamaica."

Powell, who first broke the world record in June 2005 in Athens with a 9.77, said he is enjoying being part of track and field history.

"I love being a part of the sprints. The races goes so quickly but it proves who is the fastest runner in the world."

Powell won't race on Sunday because of a right shoulder injury but says, "I will be watching from the stands."

His injured shoulder is getting stronger and hasn't prevented him from getting out on the track.

"Now it is better and I should be fine in two or three weeks," he said.

Powell would like to have his world record back someday but says all his energy right now is being channelled into doing well this summer in Beijing.

"Whenever I go on the track a world record is possible," he said. "But I am not focusing on a world record right now.

"I haven't been resting. I am still working out, working my legs. I am at a good point right now. I think I can run a good time now."

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