Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Friday | July 27, 2012
Home : Sports
'Fit again' Asafa pumped up for Games
LONDON, England:

He may be one of the men standing between him and an individual Olympic medal but the calmer, more-experienced Asafa Powell has much to thank Jamaican teammate Usain Bolt for, as the 'fit again' sprinter looks to make the most of what is likely to be his last Olympic Games.

Powell, who has been bothered in recent times by another groin flare-up, has been the subject of much criticism in the past for not being able to produce the goods under pressure, but the 29 year-old says he has turned a curve, thanks in part to what he has taken from his friend Bolt.

"Before, I used to have a lot of pressure on my bands; before Usain, it was only me and I felt the entire pressure of the entire Jamaica on me," said Powell. "Now I have learned from Usain to stay relaxed and not pressure myself or worry about anyone but just to do this for myself, and I have been working on that and it seems to be working out.

"I've been around for a while and been running well, but what I have learned is not to take anything for granted, never stop working, and that when you get to the top you have to work as if you are second best," said Powell, who twice broke the world record for the 100m.

With a positive, new outlook fuelling his desire, Powell is diving into his latest Olympic experience with renewed vigour, determined to better the two fifth-place finishes he has registered at his previous Olympic appearances in 2004 (Athens) and 2008 (Beijing).

"I'm definitely energised and really pumped up for this Games. I'm not getting any younger and this is probably my last one (Olympics) and I'm just here to give my all," said Powell yesterday.

Being tested further by the emergence of another Jamaican, Yohan Blake, Powell says his perspective has not been influenced by the younger Jamaican's recent double win over Bolt at the Jamaican Olympic trials, maintaining that the result does not suggest that the outcome in London is more favourable for anyone, or that it meant that Bolt is more vulnerable.

"The race is always open for anyone to win, you just have to be ready to run fast, it's just that Usain has always been ready and always managed to stay ready," Powell said.

"This year, you have the Americans running well and us three Jamaicans who are running very fast. My coach spoke to me and told me what he is expecting this year; I am expecting a bit more but I don't know what will happen in the final," said Powell, who also dismissed any possibility of him taking up the 200m.

"The 200m doesn't like me that much, every time I run it I get hurt a bit and I get tired a lot from it, I just really don't like it," said Powell.

With nothing to lose and a determination to gain, Powell may very well be the one to give 'Lightning Bolt' the shock he does not want at these London Games.

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