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Powell defends Bolt after Lewis goes on attack

15 September 2008

Jamaica's Asafa Powell leapt to the defence of compatriot and sprint sensation Usain Bolt here on Saturday after ex-Olympic champion Carl Lewis questioned Bolt's performances in Beijing.

With Bolt resting back in Jamaica, Powell again dipped below ten seconds to win the 100m at the World Athletics Final on Saturday then said he was disappointed with comments made by Lewis in the United States.

After Bolt won three gold medals and set three world records in Beijing, Lewis said anyone who did not question the sudden improvements in the champions' performances was a 'fool'.

"Yes, I am disappointed with the words of a former athlete," said Powell, who finished fifth in the 100m Olympic final but was part of the Jamaican team that smashed the 4x100m relay world record.

"Usain (Bolt) did better than all the other athletes before him and yet he (Lewis) does not manage to believe in him.

"What Usain did does not shock me, because I know how much talent he has and this is the first year he has devoted his training to the 100m."

Powell was responding after Lewis, who won four gold medals at the 1984 Olympics, told Sports Illustrated: "When people ask me about Bolt I say he could be the greatest athlete of all time.

"But to run 10.03 seconds one year and 9.69 the next, if you don't question that in a sport with the reputation it has right now, you're a fool. Period."

Former world record-holder Powell won in wintry conditions here in a time of 9.87secs - the sixth time he has run sub 10-seconds since the Olympics.

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