DAEGU, South Korea, CMC – He enters the World Championships without a major title but Jamaican Asafa Powell has still installed himself as the favourite to win the marquee 100 metres title here next week.
Powell has ignored the fact fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt is the reigning World and Olympic champion, the world record-holder and has lost just once in two years.
“I am the number one sprinter right now, I’ve got the fastest times this year, I would say I am the man to beat,” Powell told the Daily Mail.
“I haven’t been to a major championship feeling 100 per cent good before, and hopefully that’s going to happen this time.”
The 28-year-old clocked a world-leading 9.78 seconds at the Diamond League Athletissima in Lausanne in June, to set tongues wagging.
And though he has been impressive on the circuit this season, he is well known for choking at big events.
He shockingly finished fifth in the final at the Beijing Olympics three years ago and could only muster bronze at the last World Championships in Berlin in 2009.
On both occasions he was forced to watch as Bolt took the spotlight with amazing record runs but is adamant he is not intimidated by his countryman.
“I don’t get intimidated because I’m a professional athlete and I appreciate the benefits that Usain has brought to track and field,” Powell explained.
“He has made it more exciting and brought a lot more interest. We are friends off the track and enemies when we are competing.
“I am not intimidated easily but being on the start line, some of the smaller guys might be, and they’ll wonder if they can ever beat him.”
The World Championships runs from August 27 to September 4.