By Susan Porter and Gary Smith, World-Track
LONDON — Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell says if he runs his own race no one, not even his fellow countryman Usain Bolt, the man who succeeded him as the world record holder will be able to beat him.
“I need to run my own race because if I do then I will beat Bolt,” said Powell on the eve of the well anticipated 100-metres clash between the two at Friday’s Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace. “I want to be the king of sprints because I think I am.”
He does not hold the title of being the world’s fastest man anymore neither his he the quickest this year, but Powell still believes he is the best.
“I’m No 3 in your eyes,” he said. “I’m No 1 to myself. Back home people look at me differently now. They say I was the one who started all this. I was the one who made Usain realised what was possible. People respect me a lot more in Jamaica now.
“I don’t see too much of Usain because he loves to party and I pretty much stay home. When you get older you start thinking about things differently, but Usain needs to learn that for himself, like I did.”
On the track, the stats have shown that Powell has only defeated Bolt once in their five previous clashes, but interestingly it came around this same time a-year-ago on the back of a super start in Stockholm.
The former world record holder is yet to sample a defeat at the Crystal Palace meeting and he is confident of delivering something brilliant again tonight to extend his streak to four.
“I’m getting there and I want to go and do something spectacular,” the laid-back world bronze medallist from Osaka 2007 said.
“Usain has run 9.7 this summer and that’s my aim, to dip below 9.8. The world record [Bolt’s 9.69sec in Beijing] is the easy part, I’m focusing on the World Championships.”
But Powell admits that the only way to beat Bolt is to leave him in the blocks, anything besides that and it is trouble.
“Having Usain in the race can be a distraction. He is not a good starter. You have to get out of the blocks and let him try to catch you.
“If he is beside you out of the blocks then that can be trouble. That will register in your head and that affects you.”
Meanwhile, Powell says the Great Britain sprinters are struggling to keep up with the elite sprinters these days because they are too lazy.
“I’ve said over the years British sprinters are very lazy and don’t really want to practice,” Powell told BBC Sports on Thursday.
“Maybe it’s comfort. In Jamaica you have to work harder for what you want.
“Simeon came to Jamaica and from what I observed he is a bit lazy.
“He did well though and he made a lot of improvements and if he puts in the effort and the hard work there is a lot more to come.”