LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Asafa Powell has thrown down the gauntlet to world sprinting rivals including Jamaican compatriot Usain Bolt by running the fastest 100m of the season so far.
Powell clocked a rapid 9.78 seconds at Thursday's Diamond League meeting here, dipping under 9.8sec for the blue ribbon event for the eighth time in his career.
Only double sprint world and Olympic champion Bolt (five times with a world record best of 9.58sec) and American Tyson Gay (five times with a best of 9.69sec) have run faster, while another Jamaican, Nesta Carter, has also managed to time 9.78sec once in his career.
"It was a fantastic run, a bit cold out there, but I managed to push through," the 28-year-old Powell said.
"I'm starting to draw the benefits of a different training programme that I was able to complete last winter without being distrubed by injuries.
"I got a great start. We've been practising that for a very long time now. I definitely can't wait to face Usain."
Bolt opted out of the Lausanne meet and Gay was also absent after picking up a hip injury that saw him withdraw from the US national championships which means he will miss out on the August 27-September 3 world championships in Daegu, South Korea.
That left Powell, who held the 100m world record for three years until Bolt's breakthrough in 2008, to showcase his talents in cold, blustery conditions on a track where he set his own personal record of 9.72sec three years ago.
Fresh from winning the Jamaican national champs, which Bolt also opted to miss having already been granted a seat on the team plane to Daegu, Powell's winning time was 0.01sec faster than Gay's leading time of the season and an impressive 0.13 quicker than Bolt's season best set in Rome last month.
"The first 50 metres were very good but I have to work on the second 50," said Powell.
"Now for the moment I'm the best. I'm in a good mood for Daegu. My goal is to keep training hard and run faster.
"Anything below 9.8sec is really good. And it's only the second race of the season, so the future can only get better as the season progresses."
Powell's compatriot Michael Frater, who missed out on selection for an individual 100m spot for Jamaica at the worlds (behind Bolt, Powell, Yohan Blake and Steve Mullings), was second with a personal best of 9.88sec.
French sprinting hope Christophe Lemaitre, the European champion touted as an athlete equipped to break the US-Jamaican dominance of the 100m, did well to rebound from an awful start to finish third in a national record-equalling 9.95sec.
Nesta Carter, who also finished out of the top four at the Jamaican trials, and Norway's Gambia-born Jaysuma Saidy Ndure both timed 9.99sec, the latter a new Norwegian record.
Next up for Powell are meetings in (July 10) and London (August 5), with a possible run-out at the July 29 meet in Stockholm.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »