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Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Thursday, 24 July 2008 15:48 UK

I can win Olympic gold - Powell

LONDON GRAND PRIX, Crystal Palace, 25-26 July
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, Friday 1800-2030 BST. Live on BBC One Saturday 1430-1740 BST, also on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website

By Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport at the 02 Arena

Powell admitted to giving up in the 2007 World Championship final

Asafa Powell has hit back at claims that he lacks the mental strength to win Olympic athletics gold this summer.

The former 100m world record holder is yet to win a major global title despite being the world's pre-eminent sprinter for much of the past four years.

"It doesn't scare me. The guys that I'm running against in Beijing are the same ones I run against all year," he said.

"It's no different at the Olympics - it's just a name, and you should put that aside until you cross the line."

With world champion Tyson Gay struggling with injury and new world record holder Usain Bolt yet to commit to the 100m in Beijing, Powell is in pole position to seize the Olympic crown.

The 25-year-old has also run under 10 seconds more times than any other active athlete, but is yet to convert that dominance to major medals.

Four years ago in Athens he finished only fifth, while at last summer's Worlds in Osaka he trailed in third behind Gay and Derrick Atkins.

BBC OLYMPICS BLOG
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce
He added: "If all you guys look back and check from before, you'll see that Athens was my first Olympics, I ran my personal best in the final - so I'm not sure why people say I don't run my best in finals.

"The World Championships was the only final where I didn't do as expected. I made a once-in-a-lifetime mistake and it won't happen again."

Meanwhile, Powell's Jamaican compatriot Bolt says he has still not decided whether he will run the 100m in Beijing.

Bolt was considered a 200m specialist until this year and took silver over that distance at the World Championships last summer, but he made a huge breakthrough over the shorter distance in May when he ran 9.76 secs at the Jamaica Invitational and then a new world record of 9.72 secs at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York.

He has the option of running both distances at the Olympics but is currently committed only to the 200m.

I'm running against myself - I'm the only one who can defeat myself and I don't intend to

Asafa Powell
He said: "I'll decide at the last possible moment. The decision is for my coach really.

"Mentally I'm always strong and ready to compete, but physically it would be hard on my body.

"I've been doing the work in pre-season and during the season and I'm ready to double-up, but it's all about my coach."

Powell runs the 100m at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on Friday night, in a race that has the largest cash prize - £25,000 - of any in British track history.

And he insists that the absence through injury of his American rival Gay will not affect his chances of scooping that jackpot.

"With or without Tyson I was planning to run fast," said Powell. "I'm running against myself - I'm the only one who can defeat myself and I don't intend to."

Bolt is coy over his Olympics chances

Craig Pickering and Tyrone Edgar will lead the British challenge but Simeon Williamson sits out the meeting after picking up a minor injury earlier in the week.

Bolt runs in the 200m on Saturday in a field that also includes American Wallace Spearmon and British duo Christian Malcolm and Alex Nelson.

There are 49 of the 68 athletes in the British Olympic team for Beijing competing over the two-day meeting.

Other highlights include Christine Ohuruogu taking on fellow British medal contender Nicola Sanders in the women's 400m, while Phillips Idowu can enhance his status as gold medal favourite in the men's triple jump.

Andy Baddeley face a big test against double world champion Bernard Lagat in the men's mile, which also includes Australia’s Craig Mottram.

Kelly Sotherton competes in a special Four-Event Challenge as she completes her build-up to Beijing, featuring a 100m hurdles and long jump on Friday, and a shot putt and 200m on Saturday.




see also
Powell admits to conceding silver
27 Aug 07 |  Athletics
Injured Gay out of London meeting
23 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Powell sees off Bolt in Stockholm
22 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Gay set to be ready for Olympics
06 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Bolt races to second fastest 100m
04 May 08 |  Athletics
Powell returns after injury scare
13 May 08 |  Athletics
100m from glory
01 Jul 08 |  Athletics
Bolt from the blue
01 Jun 08 |  Athletics
Which athletes will shine in 2008?
25 Jan 08 |  Athletics
Gay pulls out of Powell showdown
11 Sep 07 |  Athletics
Bolt sets new 100m world record
01 Jun 08 |  Athletics
Powell smashes 100m world record
09 Sep 07 |  Athletics
Gay storms to world 100m victory
26 Aug 07 |  Athletics
Team GB for Beijing
21 Jul 08 |  Team GB
Athletics on the BBC
22 Jul 08 |  Athletics


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