powell sprain a boon t o bolt

KINGSTON - The Jamaican athletics championships will feature the world's fastest men: Usain Bolt, Olympic sprint double champion, and former world record-holder Asafa Powell in a 100m showdown.

KINGSTON - The Jamaican athletics championships will feature the world's fastest men: Usain Bolt, Olympic sprint double champion, and former world record-holder Asafa Powell in a 100m showdown.

While Bolt's 9,77 seconds run in Ostrava earlier this month is testimony to his condition, Powell's readiness for the weekend meet is questionable.

"Not 100percent, but I am in good enough shape," Powell said.

Powell aggravated an ankle injury at the Penn Relays on April 25, which kept him out of Oslo. But return outings in May at the Reebok Grand Prix (where he clocked 10,10 seconds for 7th place) and Prefontaine Classic (where he came second in a time of 10,07 sec) produced below-par performances.

"I am still suffering from the ankle injury. It's not [healing] as fast as I want it to, but I am still training. I am running well in training.

"I started to look like my old self. The confidence level is there, just not in any big competing attitude."

As for Bolt, he is using the trials to get in race shape and aims to run hard in the 200m.

"For me the trials is always a 9,8 run, because the aim is to make the team," Bolt said.

Bolt is down to run the 100 and 200 double, but said more focus will be on the latter.

"I am trying to run myself into shape, so I think I will be running the 200m harder, because I have not run any 200m all season."

Last year, Bolt, who spent the last 15m of the race joking around with Powell, won the event in 9,85. But this year both men could be pushed to the line as more Jamaicans are running their way into the sub-10 seconds club.

Michael Frater, Yohan Blake, Steve Mullings, Marvin Anderson and Dwight Thomas will be there, though their first aim would be to battle for the third spot.

In the women's sprints, Shelly-Ann Fraser and Veronica Campbell-Brown, the Olympic 100m and 200m champions, will have strong competition.

Fraser, who had surgery to remove an appendix in April, said, "I am about 90 to 99percent ready. I am looking forward to doing my best."

Fraser will not have an easy road, as Olympic silver medallist Kerron Stewart, the world leader at 10,92, will start as the favourite.

Campbell-Brown opted out of the 100m because of her wildcard entry in the women's 200m. - Sapa-AFP

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