By Gary Smith and Symone Goss, World-Track
EUGENE — Paul Doyle, agent of former 100-metres record holder Asafa Powell, believes the Jamaican is not too far from being at full strength.
Optimistic about come-back
Powell has been slowed down by an ankle injury in last couple of months, but Doyle said the sprinter is recovering well.
"He was able to train on it this week without any problem, so I don’t expect him to be too far off the Asafa Powell we are used to seeing," he told Reuters.
Powell will line up against a strong 100m field at Sunday’s Prefontaine Classic Grand Prix meeting in Eugene, with hopes of bettering the 10.10seconds wind-aided time he ran for seventh place at the Reebok Grand Prix last Saturday.
"I would expect a couple of tenths improvement Sunday," Doyle said. "He is going to come back with a vengeance and really wants to win this race.
"We were not so concerned about the result (at New York). The important thing was that he finished injury-free.
"He did and I think we are going to see nothing but big improvements every time now."
The world bronze medallist will face some strong candidates here – led by Olympic fourth place finisher, Churandy Martina of Netherlands Antilles, who has the fastest time in the field this season, 9.97 seconds.
Also lining up to face the sprint ace are Richard Thompson of Trinidad & Tobago and American Walter Dix, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games 100m silver and bronze medallists, respectively. Reebok winner Michael Rodgers will also like to come away with another win and judging by his performance last Saturday, he is firmly poised to do so.
The men’s 100m will race in two sections.
Women’s race equally as good
The women’s race will see a showdown between the two fastest women’s this season, Jamaica’s Olympic silver medallist Kerron Stewart and American in form sprinter Carmelita Jeter, the only sub-11 seconds runners this season without the help of the wind.
Good 400m and 300m fields
The women’s 400m will see American Sanya Richards battling with countrywoman Natasha Hastings, as well Jamaicans Shericka Williams, the Olympic silver medal winner, Novlene Williams, the world bronze medallist and 400m hurdles Olympic champion Melaine Walker.
In a rare 300m race on the grand prix circuit, Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt will start as the man to beat.
He will race against Wallace Spearmon, Xavier Carter and impressive Trinidadian Rennie Quow.
In the longer events, Kenya’s Pamela Jelimo, the million dollar girl and Olympic champion from last year will race in the women’s 800m along side Janet Jepkosgei (KEN) and Kenia Sinclair (JAM).
Exciting hurdling ahead
The hurdles events are also set to entertain the gathering.
The men’s 400m hurdles will see the likes of Olympic champ Angelo Taylor, the man who followed him in Beijing Kerron Clement and Bershawn Jackson, man who surrendered his world title to the later at the world championships in Osaka all battling for the number one slot.
Jamaica’s world-leader Isa Phillips and James Carter should also make the race real interesting.
Beijing champion Dawn Harper leads a strong field in the women’s 100m hurdles.
Commonwealth Games champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton of Jamacia, USA’s world champion Michelle Perry, former champion Perdita Felicien and campatriot Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Damu Cherry are also in the field.
Elsewhere, Olympic Andrey Silnov of Russia will compete in the men’s high jump, Irving Saladino of Panama and USA’s Dwight Phillips will square off in the long jump, as will Brittney Reese, Tianna Madison, Funmi Jimoh, Brianna Glenn and Canada’s Tabia Charles in the women’s event.
Stephanie Brown Trafton takes her good form in the women’s discus throw, the heavy weights Christian Cantwel, Reese Hoffa, Adam Nelson, Tomasz Majewski of Poland and Jamaica’s Dorian Scott throw it down in the Shot Put.