Powell aims to thrive in Bolt's absence

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The Independent Online

While one Jamaican speed machine undergoes running repairs, another has a 100m record in his sights at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Oslo tonight. Having been shunted into the shadows by Usain Bolt over the past two years, Asafa Powell has an opportunity to add further sparkle to his already impressive early-season form while his compatriot recovers from an Achilles tendon injury.

Holder of the 100m world record, with a time of 9.74sec, before Bolt improved it to 9.72 and 9.69 in 2008 and then a stunning 9.58 at last summer's World Championships in Berlin, Powell has designs on the 100m meeting record at the Bislett Games in the Norwegian capital – 9.88sec, set by the Trinidadian Ato Boldon nine years ago. "If the conditions are good, I will try to break it," Powell said.

The 27-year-old holds the record for the most sub-ten second 100m times, 62, and leads the 2010 world rankings with the 9.86sec he clocked in wet conditions at Ostrava in the Czech Republic eight days ago. Troubled by a succession of injuries in the past two years, Powell added: "I was injury-free last winter, which meant I was able to strengthen parts of my body which earlier couldn't take much hard training."

The 100m field in Oslo also includes Mark Lewis-Francis, the anchor man for Great Britain's victorious Olympic 4 x 100m relay team in 2004. Other Britons in action include Christine Ohuruogu (400m), Dai Greene (400m hurdles), Andy Baddeley (Dream Mile) and Steve Lewis (pole vault).

Of longer-term interest, it was announced yesterday that Haile Gebrselassie will make his debut in the ING New York Marathon on 7 November. The 37-year-old Ethiopian, holder of the marathon world record (2hr 03min 59sec), said: "It has long been a dream of mine to compete in this outstanding event."