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Category Archives: Asafa Powell
July 26, 2012Posted by on
The Jamaican Olympic Trials were a revelation.
Usain Bolt’s 100m defeat to his young training partner, Yohan Blake, came as a surprise. Blake’s commanding victory in the 200m was even more astounding. Bolt has shown chinks in armor in the century dash, owing to his inconsistent start. But in the half-lap sprint, the great Jamaican sprinter has been peerless.
The aforesaid losses to Blake and rumors of lingering injury, have pushed some athletics pundits to tag Blake as the prime candidate for Olympic sprinting glory.
Those views are not entirely baseless. On paper, the 2012 Bolt is a far cry from his 2009 self. The Jamaican champion’s 100m and 200m season’s bests are at 9.76s and 19.83s, respectively -light years away from his world records of 9.58s and 19.19s. Coming into the London Olympics, Blake is the world leader in both of the aforesaid events (9.75s and 19.80s).
True enough, Blake has what it takes to beat his compatriot. The 2011 100m World Champion (in the absence of a disqualified Bolt), is the third fastest in the 100m all-time list, behind Bolt and Asafa Powell. Blake has a personal best of 19.26s in the 200m a mark only bettered by Usain’s world record of 19.19s and is the only man who can challenge Bolt in the half lap sprint.
Powell, the former 100m world record, has the necessary tools edge out Bolt in the century dash. But the 30-year old has been a perennial underachiever in the major championships. Tyson Gay, the 100m and 200m World Champion from 2007, also enjoys the tag as a potential Bolt-beater. The oft-injured Gay is one of only two men to beat a post-Beijing Olympics Usain Bolt in the 100m (the other is, of course, Blake). Gay, recently recovered from a hip operation, owns the second fastest time in the 100m at 9.69s, behind Bolt’s 9.58s world record.
Judging by the stat sheets and the results of the Jamaican Olympic Trials, a monumental collapse by Usain Bolt is in the offing.
I beg to disagree because of four important factors.
First, Bolt has the most experience amongst the four contenders. The Jamaican has won sprinting titles in Youth, Junior and Senior World Championship events. He has been competing at the highest level of sport since he was 15-years old. No other athlete, save for Russian Pole Vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and New Zealand’s Shot Putter Valerie Adams, have shown such consistency amongst the different age groups.
And of course, Bolt is the defending Olympic Champion. Blake, Gay, and Powell have yet to win individual Olympic golds.
Second, Bolt is a freak of nature. Speed is a function of stride length and stride frequency. Bolt, with his 1.95m/ 6’5 frame, excels in both departments. No Olympic or World sprinting champion was as tall and quick as Usain Bolt.
Third, Bolt has been in similar circumstances before. As a talented youngster, Bolt owns the World Youth best and the World Junior record in the 200m. His transition to the senior ranks, however, was marked by injury and a seeming lack of focus. Despite being popular in Jamaica, he was an unknown outside immediate athletics circles. There was a lull in his career from 2003 to 2008, until the Beijing Olympics where he romped to three Olympic Gold medals.
Lastly, Bolt has the ability to dig deep. In the glitz and glamour of the short sprints, people tend to overlook the fact that Usain once excelled in the 400m dash in his younger days. As a 16-year old, the Jamaican ran 45.35s, the sixth fastest ever by a Youth athlete. Although Gay has a faster personal best than Bolt in the quarter-mile, the latter has the necessary championship pedigree in the event. In my opinion, his background in the 400m is what sets him apart from his competitors. It puts him in a vastly different mindset.
Because of his long legs, we don’t usually see Bolt get the fastest start in the short dashes. But once his pistons start firing in full throttle, the race is over – more often than not. Indeed, it takes guts and determination to snatch victory from behind.
Despite the snags of Bolt’s 2012 season, the London 2012 Olympics shall still be Usain Bolt’s one big sprinting party.
July 21, 2012Posted by on
The team aspect makes the 4x100m relay exciting. Since the athletes are going at full speed, the margin for error in terms of baton passing is small. Teams, especially the hastily formed ones, are susceptible to passing lapses. In the 4x100m relay, the squads with inferior aggregate flat out speeds can draw level or, at times, triumph over the highly touted teams.
Ironically, a larger country such as the U.S. could get disadvantaged because of its depth of talent. Having a large pool, with the uncertainty of the U.S. Olympic Trials providing the suspense, do not exactly provide ample time for teams to prepare. The smaller countries have, more or less, determined its relay lineups months before a major competition.
Women’s 4x100m Relay
The Americans have run two of the fastest 4x100m relay times this season (42.19s, 42.24s), followed by the Germans (42.51s – Leena Günther, Anne Cibis, Tatjana Pinto, Verena Sailer) and the Ukrainians (42.61s – Nataliya Pohrebnyak Наталія Погребняк, Mariya Ryemyen, Olesya Povh Олеся Повх, Viktorya Pyatachenko). Netherlands (42.80s – Kadene Vassell, Dafne Schippers, Eva Lubbers, Jamile Samuel), Poland (43.06s – Marika Popowicz, Daria Korczynska, Marta Jeschke, Ewelina Ptak), and France (43.12s – Carima Louami, Ayodelé Ikuesan, Jennifer Galais, Christine Arron) are the next fastest countries. The Jamaicans are few rungs lower with a season’s best of 43.31s.
In terms of the Olympic qualifying period, which stretched from January 2011 to July 2012, the Carribean sprinting power is second on the list (average of 41.97s) behind the Americans (41.75s). Ukraine (42.57s average), France (42.65s average), Germany (42.77s average), and Nigeria (42.84s) round up the next four.
The defending Olympic Champion, Russia (Evgeniya Polyakova Евгения Полякова, Ekaterina Kuzina, Ekaterina Voronenkova, Olga Belkina), is eight on the list with an average time of 42.86s.
On paper, the lead U.S. and Jamaica are the strongest contenders for gold. Its respective lineups are peppered with a multitude of individual sprinting talent in the likes of Carmelita Jeter, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Allyson Felix, and Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Jamaica has won Olympic gold only once, in 2004. The Jamaican women lost out on a potential gold in Beijing when they failed to finish the race. The Americans are historically the dominant force in the event, winning nine gold medals since the 1928 Paris Olympics. However, their last Olympic title came in 1996. Like the Jamaicans, the Americans have been bedeviled by erratic baton passing in the last two editions of the Games.
The Americans are the reigning World Champions, while the Jamaicans are the victors from Berlin.
Once Jamaica and the United States get their acts together, and pass their respective batons efficiently and with minimal loss of speed, these two countries are unbeatable.
If the two sprinting powerhouses commit lapses, Ukraine and Germany are the most likely to capitalize. The Ukrainians have world class sprinters in Olesya Povh and Mariya Ryemyen, while the Germans are led by the comebacking Verena Sailer. The Ukrainian and German teams have the benefit of competing at a relatively recent major championships, whereas the Jamaicans and Americans last big meet was the World Championships in Daegu. The confidence level of the Germans, in particular, are at record-highs in light of their smashing win in Helsinki.
Top Three Predictions:
Gold: United States
Men’s 4x100m Relay
In the men’s division, the Jamaican gap over the Americans is glaring. The Jamaicans have an average time of 37.54s to the Americans’ 37.85s. Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, and Yohan Blake are all set to compete in London. Barring any unforseen hitches, Jamaica looks poised to win back-to-back Olympic golds.
The Americans have dominated this event, having triumphed 15 times in the last 22 Olympic Games. Their record in major championships of late has not been as immaculate. The error-prone Americans narrowly missed the gold in Athens to an inspired British team. In Beijing, the American quartet crashed out of the preliminary rounds. They crashed out of the Berlin World Championships, disqualified for an illegal baton exchange. Daegu could have been a lot better, had it not been for the unfortunate collision between Briton Harry Aikenes-Aryeetey and American Doc Patton.
Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin will banner the American challenge. Gay and Gatlin, both former World titlists and the latter an Olympic Champion, will bring maturity and experience into the squad.
France (38.29s average – Teddy Tinmar, Christophe Lemaitre, Yannick Lesourd, Jimmy Vicaut) Olympic hosts Great Britain (38.32s average), Trinidad and Tobago (38.40s average – Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Aaron Armstrong, Richard Thompson), and Brazil (38.41s average – Ailson Feitosa, Sandro Viana, Nilson Andrè, Bruno de Barros) are the next fastest countries. Interestingly, the 10th ranked Hong Kong relay team (38.59s average – Tang Yik Chun, Lai Chun Ho 黎振浩, Ng Ka Fung, Tsui Chi Ho) is ahead of Canada (38.64s – Ian Warner, Oluseyi Smith, Jared Connaughton, Justyn Warner), Italy (38..65s average – Simone Collio, Jacques Riparelli, Davide Manenti, Fabio Cerutti), and the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Japan (38.68s average – Masashi Eriguchi, Ryota Yamagata 山縣 亮太, Shinji Takahira, Kenji Fujimitsu).
Outside the top two countries, France is the standout talent. The French are led by the duo of Christophe Lemaitre and Jimmy Vicaut, both 100m dash finalists in Daegu. Lemaitre is a World Championships 200m dash bronze medalist.
The Olympic hosts will also send an experienced team, with Mark Lewis-Francis and Dwain Chambers leading the charge. Lewis-Francis is the only holdover from the gold medal winning squad in Athens. The talented youngster Adam Gemili will be around to give much-needed firepower.
As much as I would love to see Britain win gold again or the Americans break their Olympic drought, the Jamaicans are much too dominant.
Top Three Predictions:
Silver: United States
July 14, 2012Posted by on
The Blue Riband event is the centerpiece of the Olympics. The athlete who wins the gold is dubbed as the world’s fastest man or woman.
Women’s 100m Dash
Until the Jamaican Olympic trials last June, Carmelita Jeter has been comfortably perched as the 2012 world leader. Jeter ran 10.81s at the same blue track in Kingston where the Jamaican trials were held.
A month later, the defending Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce demolished the American’s erstwhile 2012 standard. Fraser-Pryce ran a personal best, as she stopped the clock at 10.70s. Veronica Campbell-Brown came second at 10.82s.
Trinidadian Kelly-Ann Baptiste (10.86s) and Allyson Felix (10.92s) trails Campbell-Brown. Kerron Stewart (10.94s), Tianna Madison (10.96s), Murielle Ahoure (11.00s), and Blessing Okagbare (11.01s) occupy prominent positions in the top list.
The European challenge will be top billed by the comebacking Ivet Lalova Ивет Лалова (11.06s SB) and the mercurial Olesya Povh Олеся Повх (11.08s), who finished 1-2 at the European Championships in Helsinki.
Felix (L), Baptiste (C), and Stewart (R). Photos from Erik van Leeuwen
With the London Games barely two weeks away, the Jamaicans and the Americans are sure to figure in tough battle for gold.
The 25-year old Fraser-Pryce, fresh from setting lifetime bests in the 100m and the 200m, is at her prime. Jeter is six years older than the Jamaican Olympic Champion, but is coming into the Games as the reigning World Champion. the powerful American has a personal best of 10.64s from 2009. the second fastest behind Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 10.49s world record.
Stewart (10.75s, 2009), Campbell-Brown (10.76s, 2011), and Lalova (10.77s, 2004) are all sub-10.80s sprinters at their respective bests. Felix (10.92s, 2012) could figure in the fight for the podium as well, as long as she does not get left behind at the blocks.
My pick for gold is the defending champion, Fraser-Pryce. She has the momentum and she seems to be peaking just in time for London.
Top Three Predictions:
Gold: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
Silver: Carmelita Jeter
Bronze: Allyson Felix
Men’s 100m Dash
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay are the only ones capable of beating an in-form Usain Bolt. Former World record holder Asafa Powell has the necessary speed and breakneck start, but he just does not possess the mental toughness to live up to his potential in major championships.
True enough, Blake has inflicted back-to-back defeats in the 100m and 200m to his training partner, both at the Jamaican Olympic Trials. Gay triumphed over Bolt at the DN Galan in Stockholm back in 2010.
The fight for gold will be three-pronged between Bolt, Blake, and Gay, should the latter be able to find the spring in his legs again. Justin Gatlin is the dark horse. Coming from his two-year doping ban, he has a lot to prove and is intent on making his comeback complete by winning Olympic gold.
Blake (9.75s) and Bolt (9.76s) are the two fastest this year. The 2004 Athens Olympic Champion, Justin Gatlin, is in top form as he set a personal best of 9.80s en route to topping the tough U.S. Olympic Trials. Powell (9.85s), Keston Bledman (9.86s), and Gay (9.86s) round up the next three.
Watch out for the tall and powerful Ryan Bailey. Bailey finished third at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, setting a personal best of 9.93s.
I’d love to see Kim Collins (10.05s SB) replicate his podium finish in Daegu, but the 2003 World Champion has not gone below the 10-second barrier this season. The French duo of Christophe Lemaitre (10.04s SB) and Jimmy Vicaut (10.07s SB) could once again barge into the final. Britain’s new sprinting talent, Adam Gemili (10.05s PB/SB), looks poised to make a mark as well.
I’m rooting for an injury-free Gay to finally wrest the Olympic 100m dash title. As the second fastest of all-time over the distance (9.69s), he has what it takes to come out on top. The youthfully exuberant Blake has the psychological edge, in the wake of his emphatic wins over Bolt.
If the world’s greatest sprinter gets his act together in London, the rest of the field – Gay and Blake included – will be competing only for the lesser medals.
Top Three Predictions:
Gold: Usain Bolt
Silver: Tyson Gay/Yohan Blake
Bronze: Justin Gatlin
June 30, 2012Posted by on
Young Yohan Blake defeated training partner Usain Bolt at the Jamaican Olympic Trials. Blake, the 2011 100m dash World Champion, shaved off a staggering seven-hundredths of a second off his personal best to convincingly win over the World 100m and 200m record holder. Blake stopped the clock in 9.75s to Bolt’s 9.86s. Asafa Powell was third in 9.88s.
The powerful Powell had a cracking start. The former world record holder actually led the field until the 60 meter mark, when Blake turned on his afterburners. Even Bolt’s usually dominating finish proved insufficient to turn the race into his favor. Although Bolt pipped Powell at the tape, by two-hundredths of a second, Blake scored a convincing victory.
This was Bolt’s first loss in the 100m dash since Tyson Gay beat him in Stockholm back in 2010.
Usain has shown chinks in his armor the past few races. At the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting this year, he ran a little over 10 seconds after a lackluster start. Although he has run the two fastest times in history (9.58s and 9.69s), other talented albeit slower sprinters are ready to pounce once Bolt lets down his guard.
Bolt at his best is practically unbeatable in the half-lap sprint. The 100m dash is a different ballgame altogether, considering the fact that the comebacking Gay had run 9.69s in the past. Powell (9.72s), despite his penchant for choking, has the necessary speed to edge out Bolt. With Blake’s victory in Kingston, a talented and confident challenger comes to fore.
Gay, Powell, and Blake has what it takes to beat Bolt in London.
Bolt’s loss at the hands of his training partner, as well as the near-missed he has had this season, could be beneficial in his defense of his Olympic titles. Bolt, after all, is human. He is no stranger to finishing second fiddle, having had a forgettable string of seasons prior to his breakout performance at the Beijing Olympics.
Usain Bolt, like the champion that he is, shall learn from this losing experience.
July 8, 2010Posted by on
A certified classic. John Drummond and Asafa Powell gets disqualified from the 100m dash qualifying heats in the 2003 Paris World Championships. The IAAF had revised the old false start rule, allowing only one false start for each race. Any subsequent infractions would merit an instant disqualification.*
Apparently, Drummond and Powell went below the allowable reaction time of 0.1s, according to the sensors employed by the starters. See for yourself. Drummond’s wild protest is amusing albeit immature. But then again, I feel for the guy.
See for yourself and be the judge:
* This rule has been revised again at the beginning of the year. The IAAF now imposes a strict, no-false start policy. The instant one prematurely leaves the blocks, one is disqualified. Personally, I prefer the old rule.
June 11, 2010Posted by on
Young Christophe Lemaitre, finished 2nd behind Asafa Powell during last Thursday’s Diamond League. It was the perfect opportunity to break 10-seconds, with the former world record holder running beside him. Lemaitre could only manage a 10.09s (he ran a 10.03s weeks ago) against Powell’s World Leading 9.82s.
Read the full event reports from the Diamond League site.