LONDON, ENGLAND — In what could be his final appearance at an Olympic Games, a relaxed Asafa Powell declares himself ready to give his all, while vowing to prevent men's 100m gold medal favourite Usain Bolt from repeating the massive victory he achieved in Beijing, China, four years ago.
At a press conference hosted by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and team kit sponsors Puma in London yesterday, Powell said he was "pumped up" for these Games. "I am not getting any younger and this might be my last one."
The 29 year-old Powell, who laughed and made jokes throughout the event that started about 30 minutes after the scheduled 4:00 pm (UK time) start time, shrugged off questions about his health and said he trained well over the past two weeks.
While saying he can't predict what will happen in the final of the men's 100m at the Olympics, Powell said: "It will be exciting, I don't know what will happen in the final, but a lot of people are expecting Usain to win, but it won't be as easy as that."
Only Powell and Bolt managed to make it to the press conference as Yohan Blake and female sprinters Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell Brown were all no-shows and Jamaica Olympic Association president Mike Fennell apologised on their behalf and explained that the team had just arrived in London from their Birmingham camp and had some logistics to sort out.
Powell, who held the world record before Bolt ran 9.72 seconds at a Diamond League meet in New York in 2008 to set the first of his three world records, said he had learnt from Bolt how to relax and not take on too much pressure on himself.
"Before, I used to have a lot of pressure on my head, before Usain (came on the scene), I used to have the entire pressure of Jamaica, but Usain taught me to relax," Powell said. "He told me that I should (think that) I am doing it for myself and it seems to be working."
Powell, who was third in the final of the men's 100m at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Trials last month, said he would be disappointed if he did not make it to the final of the 100m here on August 5.
"Nine months I have been training for this," he said. "I know I have what it takes and it is just up to me to go out there. I have been working very hard and will make a lot of guys eat my dust."