STAWELL, Australia – Former world record holder Asafa Powell's left hamstring injury which forced him to pull up during the 100-meter final at the London Olympics is still giving him problems more than seven months later.
Powell experienced soreness during the warm-up Saturday for the 120-meter Stawell Gift handicap race in western Victoria state. The 30-year-old Powell considered withdrawing from the race rather than risk further injury, but ran and finished third in his heat.
But he was unable to run at full pace, finishing in 12.24
seconds after starting the heat from scratch, which was still a good enough time to qualify him for Monday's semifinals. However, Powell said he did not feel he would be fit enough to run again at Stawell.
“No, I definitely can't run (on Monday),” Powell said. “The hammy is giving me some problems and it wouldn't be fair to me to go out there and push it.
“But I really wanted to give the crowd the performance today. From 30 meters, the leg started to get real tight. I came out of the drive phase and just started running. But I wasn't running 100
The injury could place in doubt his appearance in the 100 meters at next Saturday's IAAF Melbourne Track Classic.
If Powell pulls out of the Stawell race, he would have to sit out an automatic 14-day suspension, ruling him out of the 100 in Melbourne.
Powell's travelling coach Aundre Edwards suggested Powell could still be on the start line at Central Park in Stawell on Monday.
“The physio is looking at it and it all looks good so far, so we'll wait and see,” said Edwards. “He's still got a day's rest and nothing has been ruled out so far.”
Powell, a member of the world record-setting 4x100-meter Jamaican relay team that won gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, had been billed as the best-credentialed runner to contest the Stawell race in its 131-year history.
On Wednesday after his arrival in Australia, Powell said the turf track should pose no problems because he trains on grass regularly at home in Jamaica.
And he said then that he thought his injury issues might be over.
“I'm in good shape, if not the best yet because I'm still in background training and I haven't really started speed training,” Powell said then. “I'm strong right now and very excited to see what I can do on the track.”
Stawell is a former gold rush town located about 235 kilometers (145 miles) west of Melbourne. Its biggest single tourist attraction each year is the Gift.