MONTEGO BAY –– Asafa Powell says he is excited about his chance to become the first man in the history of track and field to run 100 legal sub-10 seconds clocking in the 100m race.
At the end of the 2015 season Powell, who was part of the Jamaican team to win the gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, had clocked 93 sub-10 seconds races and expects to surpass the century mark in the 2016 season.
“I am very excited about getting the 100 sub-10 seconds time,” he said Friday at a cocktail reception put on by Sagicor at Secrets Hotel in Freeport, Montego Bay.
Powell and teammate Novlene Williams Mills were guests of the insurance company.
“People have been making a big deal over it,” Powell said. “And it has become a major part of me, a major part of my image to be the ‘sub-10 king’, and it is very exciting. Everyone is looking forward to it and I am looking forward as well.”
He said the plans were for his management team to ramp up the awareness as he starts racing next year. “We hope to push the marketing more so people can expect it and get excited,” he said.
The 32-year-old Powell broke the world record twice between 2005 and 2008, with times of 9.77 seconds and 9.74 seconds, before Usain Bolt broke it in New York in May 2008 when he ran 9.72 seconds.
His first sub-10 seconds run came in June 2004 when he ran 9.99 seconds at a meet held at GC Foster College. He was consistent this year with 10 runs under 10 seconds with a season best 9.84 seconds which he did twice, both in Kingston, at the Jamaica International Invitational meet in May and again at the National Senior Trials in June.
But for an injury in 2012 at the Olympic Games and suspension in 2013 when he tested positive for a stimulant, Powell might have eclipsed the 100 mark by now. He managed just nine legal sub-10-second runs between 2012 and 2014 after his times in 2013 were wiped out by the stimulant-related suspension.
He ran just six sub-10-second races in 2012 before pulling up in the 100m final at the Olympic Games, and serving his suspension the next season returned late in the 2014 season with three more runs under 10 seconds.
Powell, who has two World Championships bronze medals, said he has no thoughts of hanging up his spikes just yet. “My body feels great, I don’t feel like I am 32 years old, I feel fresh and strong. Next year is a big year and I will continue to work hard, my body not overworked as I started my career late, so I have a lot left.”
He recently signed a new two-year contract with sporting goods giant Puma and said it “is a good fit” for him.
“It’s a good feeling,” he said. “Puma has been around the Jamaican national team since 2002 and I have been running in their gear for a while, so I know the company, I know the guys there, they are real cool people, so it wasn’t a hard decision.”
His management team, he said, “handled the business quite properly, so no turning back for me now”, as he explained that while the deal is for two years, he has the option to stay with them should decide to run past the 2017 season.