at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Jamaica's former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell conceded that the London Games probably represents his last chance of erasing previous disappointments in two Olympic finals.
The 29-year-old, who held the 100m record for almost three years from June 2005 to May 2008, has seen his status as the fastest man in the world eclipsed by his younger rival and close friend Usain Bolt.
Powell, whose one individual title the 2006 Commonwealth Games is poor reward for his obvious talent, said the 100m in London was probably the final time where he could count himself among the genuine title contenders.
“Definitely this is an important Games for me,” said Powell, who pulled out of the London Diamond League meet because of injury and has placed fifth in the last two Olympics finals.
“This is probably my last one and I am going to give it my all. The 100m is my event because the 200m doesn't love me very much and the feeling is mutual.”
Powell, who won Olympic gold in the 4x100m relay in Beijing when Jamaica smashed the world record, said he had learnt from Bolt how to prepare mentally for finals.
“I have learnt from Usain to stay more relaxed,” he said.
“I've learnt from him that you are doing it for yourself and no one else. It's easier for me now.
“The final is a one man race in that you just solely focus on your lane and you don't look around you and size up the opponents.
“Because you never know who is going to pop up and surprise you. There can be a guy that has run 10.03sec all season and suddenly he runs 9.90sec.”
Powell, who has twice taken bronze in the world 100m final but on two other occasions missed the championships with groin trouble, admitted the Olympic 100m promises to be one of the most competitive in Games history.
“Usain has always been ready for major championships and I am always hoping I will be too,” he said.
“We have the Americans running really well and us three Jamaicans (Yohan Blake the 100m world champion being the other one). It's going to be very exciting.
“You just don't know what's going to happen in finals.”
However, Powell said that he was definitely targeting a medal.
“If I don't get on the podium I will be really disappointed,” he said.
Powell said that the weight of expectation on him and the other Jamaican sprinters back home was enormous.
“The entire island of Jamaica is very excited, there is a lot of attention on the country of Jamaica and therefore Jamaicans are pushing us on to be successful.” – Sapa-AFP