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Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Thursday, 23 July 2009 16:24 UK

Powell insists Bolt is beatable

Venue: Crystal Palace, London Dates: 24-25 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and BBC Sport website (UK only)
Friday 1800-2030 BST on BBC Two, and Saturday 1415-1730 on BBC One; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live;
Our man will be there on Saturday sending updates on twitter and flickr

Asafa Powell
Powell is hoping to end Bolt's sprint dominance, starting in London

Former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell is confident of pushing triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt all the way at the London Grand Prix.

The duo will race in the 100m on Friday at Crystal Palace ahead of next month's World Championships in Berlin, with Briton Simeon Williamson also running.

Powell told BBC Sport: "Usain is the favourite, but he is beatable.

"A lot of people are saying I'm the man to beat Usain. I have to be confident that I can give him a good challenge."

Bolt took world athletics by storm at the Beijing Olympics last year, winning gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, setting new world records in each event.

However, the Jamaican has revealed he is only "85%" fit ahead of the London Grand Prix, despite still producing fast times in his warm-up events.

Bolt won the 100m at Friday's Golden League meeting in Paris in a stunning time of 9.79 seconds, despite a poor start.

"Last year I was 100% fit and I did wonderful things, beating the pack by a good distance," Bolt said.

"I still have a few things to get right, but if I can get everything together I should be ready for the Worlds.

My start needs to improve - Bolt

"I'm looking forward to racing in London because I'm based here and there will be lots of Jamaican support. The fans will be loud and fun and I can feed off their energy."

Bolt starts Friday's race as favourite, but Commonwealth 100m champion Powell is unbeaten over the distance at Crystal Palace having run under 10 seconds in his previous three races at the venue.

And while Powell is also battling injury, he says he is in good enough shape to win on Friday night.

"I have an ankle injury so I'm probably less fit than Usain right now - I'm probably at 75%," he said.

"But I will definitely run. It comes down to who's best on the day."

Williamson will also compete in the race, fresh from crushing Dwain Chambers in the UK trials in a time of 10.05 seconds - 0.02secs outside his personal best.

Meanwhile, injury problems have also struck triple world champion sprinter Tyson Gay.

The American will not race in the 100m but will compete in the 200m, despite a persistent groin strain.

He will then run in Stockholm on 31 July, before defending his world titles in Berlin from 15-23 August.


"There's a soreness there that he is going to have to deal with," said the American's manager Mark Wetmore.

"I don't believe (it will affect Gay's plans for the world championships), but there is no need for me to speculate. He is going to race (over 200m) on Saturday in London and we will have a lot more information after that."

The soreness is the second setback for Gay this season after knee injury cost him several weeks of pre-season training.

He did not make the final of the Beijing Olympics 100m in 2008 as he attempted to come back from a hamstring injury at the US Olympic trials that knocked him out of the 200m.

Gay, Bolt and Powell are sure to attract bumper crowds to the Crystal Palace event, which also features British 5,000m runner Mo Farah.

And the Briton says he is determined to break the 27-year-old British record for the distance this weekend - admitting it is long overdue.

Dave Moorcroft's time of 13 minutes 00.41 seconds - a world record at the time - has stood since July 1982 and Farah knows breaking 13 minutes is the least he needs to do to be a medal contender at next month's World Championships in Berlin.

Farah has already broken one British record this year, smashing the 3,000m indoor best in Birmingham before winning the European title over the same distance.

Farah targets Moorcroft record

He said: "It's been there too long. I'm getting sick of people asking 'when are you going to do it?'

"I need to be running under 13 minutes and I'm in good shape so I should be capable of it. Training has been going well and I definitely want to give it a go.

"The crowd can make a big difference. I've been running at Crystal Palace since I was 13 and hopefully the crowd can be as good as ever."

World champion Jana Rawlinson, meanwhile, will not be defending her 400m hurdles title after the Australian was diagnosed with a bulging disc in her back.

Rawlinson, who recently returned to competition after a toe injury sidelined her for a year, now faces a race against time to be fit to compete in Berlin.

"We'll see what happens in the next few days," her coach Craig Hilliard said.

"If she's back running pain-free and it does settle down then we'll look at forging ahead.

"But if it's still hanging around then time is starting to impinge."

see also
Williamson gunning for big stage
23 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Bolt cruises to emphatic 100m win
17 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Superstar Bolt in dazzling form
18 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Bolt to take on Powell in London
15 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Bolt storms to stunning victory
07 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Gay ready to challenge Bolt mark
26 Jun 09 |  Athletics

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