Injured Powell pulls out of Aviva London Grand Prix

The would-be king of the sprint world was a notable absentee from the opening night's action at the Aviva London Grand Prix here at Crystal Palace.

Asafa Powell, ahead of his Jamaican compatriot Usain Bolt at the top of the world rankings this year, announced his withdrawal from the field for the 100 metres yesterday morning.

"I have had some tightness in my groin since I raced in Budapest last weekend," Powell said. "I had hoped that it would have cleared by now but it is still there. I am only focusing on the World Championships in Daegu. As much as I would love to run tonight, I just can't risk anything with Daegu three weeks away."

Although a disappointment to the organisers and to the Crystal Palace crowd, injury having already ruled out Tyson Gay, Powell's decision was entirely understandable. The 28-year-old has been undermined by injury before in the lead-up to major championships and will need to be on top of his game to challenge Bolt for the world title in South Korea.

Powell's agent Paul Doyle added: "We've made the decision not to race tonight as a precaution. Asafa has a tightness in his groin that has been getting better every day, but to run tonight would put him at risk of injury. If we had two or three more days, I think he would be fine and able to race, but unfortunately that is not the case."

At least Powell has his place in the Jamaican team for Daegu assured. After finishing fifth in the discus at the domestic trials meeting in Birmingham last Sunday, Lawrence Okoye needs to raise his game on the second day of the Crystal Palace meeting today if he is to make the British squad.

These are beguiling times for the giant young Croydon Harrier, who stands fifth in the world rankings, ahead of Olympic champion Gerd Kanter, courtesy of the monster 67.63m British record distance he threw at the UK Athletics Throwsfest meeting in Hendon a month ago. The two automatic places in the British team having been claimed by Abdul Buhari and Carl Myerscough, the 6ft 6in, 20st Okoye faces a battle with Welshman Brett Morse today in the race to claim the final spot.

"It's either win or bust for me at the moment, from one extreme to the other," he reflected. "Hopefully, these inconsistent times will go away soon and I'll be able to produce big throws every week. The discus is a really technical event. It's hard to master. But I'll get there.

"In the meantime I'll just see what I can do. If I throw badly again this weekend and don't go to the World Championships, it's not going to be any skin off my nose. I'll just get back into winter training early and, hopefully, come out flying next year.

"If I throw well this weekend, then great. I'll have another chance to do something big this year. We'll just see what happens."

It bodes well for Okoye's long-term future in track and field that he can maintain such a balanced perspective on his potentially disorienting situation. At 19, he is still learning the ropes of the discus under the guidance of the seasoned throws guru John Hiller.

It was only last summer, after finishing sixth at the World Junior Championships, that Okoye decided to concentrate on track and field rather than rugby union. He was formerly a member of the London Irish Academy and scored for the victorious Whitgift School in the English Schools' Cup final at Twickenham last year. He also chose to defer a place to study law at St Peter's College, Oxford, to train full-time as an athlete until the 2012 Olympics.

Given Okoye's inexperience as a discus thrower, the inconsistency that has bedevilled him all summer has been understandable. It does not eclipse the huge potential his British record throw at Hendon measurably demonstrated.

"They say it takes about 10,000 throws before you can call yourself a discus thrower," Okoye said. "I do about 250 a week, so I've got a long way to go before I can call myself one properly. It's just a matter of practice and experience and that comes with age.

"There is no need for anyone to be disappointed in how I did last weekend because it's always going to be like that at this stage. When I do actually get into my prime, and the sort of age where I know I can produce big throws on a regular basis, that's when I'll be a world-beater. But at the moment I'm just one of those guys who can do something big or do something really badly."

In addition to Okoye, Morse and Kanter, the line-up for the discus this afternoon includes the triple Paralympic world champion Dan Greaves from Loughborough. He will be throwing with a lighter implement.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Estimator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Bookkeeper

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Small Family Accountancy Practi...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - OTE £50,000

£18000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is recruiting for ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager / Account Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B software supplier, spe...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence