Athletics: Sad Powell runs out of time

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The Independent Online

After a week of intensive treatment on the Jamaican world record-holder, Dr Müller-Wohlfahrt has ruled out the possibility of getting his patient fit and healthy for the individual 100m, which is contested on the opening two days of the championships, next Saturday and Sunday. He has, however, not dismissed the prospect of a patched-up Powell racing in the 4 x 100m relay the following Friday and Saturday.

"I'm devastated," Powell told the IAAF website. "You train with one focus all year, and to have that taken away leaves you feeling empty. I hope to be able to run the relay in Helsinki and help bring a medal back to Jamaica."

Powell has been at Dr Müller-Wohlfahrt's clinic in Munich since he limped out of the 100m final in the Norwich Union London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace nine days ago. His injury has been diagnosed as a 2.5cm groin- muscle tear, and he has under-gone remedial therapy admin-istered by a guru whose unorthodox methods include the injection of cell parts from the foetuses of calves and whose past client list features such luminaries as Pavarotti, Boris Becker, Diego Maradona, Jose Maria Olazabal, Michael Owen, Linford Christie and Paula Radcliffe.

Dr Müller-Wohlfahrt is also a familiar face on high-profile football benches, as the long-time doctor-cum-physiotherapist with both Bayern Munich and the German national side.

Powell had been suffering from a groin problem since breaking the 100m world record with his 9.77sec run in Athens last month. His absence from the individual event in Helsinki, although this has yet to be officially confirmed by the Jamaican team management, would install Justin Gatlin, the Olympic champion from the United States, as the clear favourite.

Powell's agent, Paul Doyle, said: "If the 100m was at the end of the championships we would be very optimistic of Asafa's chances. Every day and every hour counts in healing an injury like this."

Powell is scheduled to compete in the Weltklasse Golden League meeting in Zurich on 19 August, but Doyle added: "Asafa will not step on the track in the relay or at any other meet until we are sure he is 100 per cent healed and 100 per cent fit. He needs some time with his coach, Stephen Francis, to be back to his top form."