Asafa Powell fills Usain Bolt`s shoes and targets personal best

Asafa Powell will attempt to fill the sizeable shoes of injured Jamaican compatriot Usain Bolt in the 100m at Saturday`s Diamond League meet in Paris, still keen on lowering his personal best of 9.72 seconds -- the fifth fastest time ever.

Asafa Powell fills Usain Bolt`s shoes and targets personal best

Paris: Asafa Powell will attempt to fill the sizeable shoes of injured Jamaican compatriot Usain Bolt in the 100m at Saturday`s Diamond League meet in Paris, still keen on lowering his personal best of 9.72 seconds -- the fifth fastest time ever.

The 32-year-old takes over star billing in the track`s blue riband event after Bolt pulled out with a problematic pelvis injury.

"I`m very happy to be back," beamed Powell, who won Olympic gold in the 4x100m relay alongside Bolt in 2008 in Beijing, which will also host next month`s world championships.

"I`ve always been at the top with the big names. It was unfortunate for me to fall back, but now I`m back on top with the big guys," he said in reference to a one-year ban he served for testing positive in 2013.

That ban was cut by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), with Powell going on to sue the supplement company "for putting a contaminated substance in the supplement".

"I don`t know how anyone else deals with a ban, but for me it was very difficult to know that it wasn`t my fault why anything happened," Powell said.

"I`m in a good place now and want to focus on the positive and the future."

Powell said the form of American duo Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay, who have both also served doping bans, would keep him on his toes -- with the trio set to meet at next week`s Diamond League meet in Lausanne.

"My personal best is 9.72sec (set in 2008), so at my best I know I can run that. But I want to run another personal best, that`s what I`m focused on, not anyone else," he said.

"Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin are both running well."

Turning to Gatlin, who has served two doping bans but is currently in the form of his chequered career, Powell said: "To come out and run 9.74sec in your first race (as Gatlin did), that will surprise anyone, and a personal best at that, but I`m not focused on that.

"He`s doing what he`s doing and I`m It`s a very uncomfortable topic to talk about. I don`t really like to get into it. I just hope that he`s doing what he`s doing to the best of his ability and he`s doing it honestly."

Powell lamented, however, the absence of Bolt from the Paris meet and expressed hope he would be fit for the August 22-30 world championships.

"Usain`s not there, but it`s good for the sport to have him there because he`s the number one athlete right now and world record holder," he said.

"It`s good to have him in the race to draw the crowd and excitement."

Powell added: "Usain`s been running fast for years and I don`t see whay he shouldn`t come back and run fast.

"It`s just a phase -- we all get injuries. I`ve been injured over the years and am still running fast, so it`s just for him to get over this and come back for the world championships and next year.

"If he`s not 100 percent, I think he should focus mainly on the relays or 200m because the 100m is going to be very difficult. But hopefully he can get back into shape and feel like his old self and try to do the two races."

Powell also admitted that the rise of some promising sprinters like American Trayvon Bromell and Canadian Andre De Grasse was good for track, predicting the Beijing worlds would be the "old against the new", but with only one winner.

"It`s good to have these new athletes coming up, because when we expire they`re the ones who have to come and take over," he said.

"I think for now all the guys are still on top and we`re running very fast so I guess they`ll have to wait their turn! It`s good for this sport, younger and new athletes coming up, we need it for this sport."

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