By Gary Smith, World-Track
LONDON — Former World 100-metres record holder Asafa Powell says his friendship with Usain Bolt remains solid, despite his fellow countryman’s elevation to becoming one the most famous athletes in track and field.
The 22-year-old also succeeded his senior as the Jamaican champion in the last two seasons, but Powell said nothing has changed between the two friends.
"We’ve been friends before the world record and Olympic Games and nothing has changed, he has only gotten a lot more famous," Powell told Reuters news agency.
Powell and Bolt will clash over the 100m at Friday’s London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace and he believes the showdown is ideal for the sport.
The 26-year-old World Championships bronze medal winner from Osaka 2007, however, added that although the rivalry between the pair could reflect that of two champion boxers, he would not waste his energy on trash talks.
"It’s something that (the sport) hasn’t seen for a long while and there are times when I said to myself ‘I’m going to make it be like a Tyson and Holyfield match’ but I just can’t find the energy to really put out that kind of trash talk," he said. "Because I really wouldn’t mean it."
Unlike former times, there are no more need for dodging from the pair on the circuit and Powell is looking forward to running his own race whenever they meet.
"I’ve made a lot of improvements over the last year, worked on the start more and worked on the finish," said Powell, who clocked a seasonal best of 9.88 seconds in Rome earlier this month.
"I don’t think it’ll be anything different, it’ll be for me to run my own race whether he’s with me at 60 meters or not. It’s just for me to run my own race to beat him."
Powell, who sustained an ankle injury in April, revealed the injury is not yet at 100-percent, but is prepared to continue racing on it.
"The ankle’s not going to get any worse so why not compete on it? But it’s not 100 percent. There’s still a bit of pain but I can run. I can run below 10 seconds" he said.
Powell is yet to taste defeat from his three starts at the meeting and he is ready to make it number four.
"I’m in good shape so I should be capable of it. I definitely want to give it a go on Friday," he said.
"Right now I feel I am definitely in sub-10 shape. I’m just trying to keep it loose," he added
Meanwhile, another athlete hoping to race away his injury is American Tyson Gay, who is currently nursing a slight groin problem. Doctors, however, said the world triple gold medallist is safe to race.
He will line up in the men’s 200m dash, an event he leads the world with a superb 19.58seconds. His 9.77seconds is also the fastest over the 100m for the year.