By Gary Smith, World-Track
LONDON — Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt believes fellow countryman Asafa Powell can push him to a new world record when the Jamaicans clash over 100m in London on Friday.
The sprint aces, who were members of the Jamaican 4x100m relay team that shattered a long-standing world record in Beijing last summer, will be the headliners in a star-studded 100m line up at the two-day London Grand Prix meeting at Crystal Palace.
Bolt owns the current world record of 9.69seconds, but he believes that mark could be reduced if the conditions stay in his favour.
"I’m looking forward to racing against Asafa because he’s a great athlete and he can push me all the way to a quick time," said Bolt.
"You never know what might happen in terms of times. There’s a quick track in Crystal Palace but I prefer to think about performance rather than the time – but if the rain holds off the world record could be beaten.
Bolt went on to say that the record could go as low as 9.54seconds, as his coach Glen Mills sees that in him.
"I spoke to my coach after the Olympics and he believes I can go as quick as 9.54 secs," he told a news conference Tuesday. "And I think that’s achievable because I’ve always done everything he’s challenged me to do."
The 22-year-old has a seasonal best of 9.79sec, achieved in unfavourable conditions in Lausanne on July 7. That performance is the second fastest this year behind the 9.77sec of American reigning world champion Tyson Gay, who will race over 200m at meet.
Powell is also rounding into shape, following his recent seasonal best of 9.88.
The clash between Bolt and Powell will be their second this season, after the Olympic champion went one-up on the world bronze medallist at the Jamaica Championships in June.