NEW DELHI: Out of the two world records held by track superstar Usain Bolt, his 100m dash timing of 9.58 seconds stands more likely to be broken than the 200m mark of 19.19secs, his fellow Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell said on Friday.
Former 100m world record holder Powell, who is here as brand ambassador of Delhi Half Marathon to be run on Sunday, said that it would be very tough to break Bolt’s two individual world records.
“It will be very difficult to break these two records. I feel breaking the 9.58secs (in 100m) could be more likely to be broken, if at all it happens. 19.19secs in 200m is ridiculous,” Powell said, when asked which one of the two sprint records could be easier to be broken.
Both the existing 100m and 200m world records were set by Bolt while winning gold medals during the 2009 World Athletics Championships in Berlin.
Powell himself held the world record of 9.72 secs between 2005 and 2008 before Bolt took it over.
33-year-old Powell is known as ‘Sub-10 King’ for running 100m dash below 10 seconds for 98 times, the maximum by any sprinter and he said he would like to notch up his ‘century’ of sub-10sec in Jamaica.
“It is difficult to say specifically when I will run my 100th sub-10 sec but I hope it comes sooner than later and I would like to do that in my home country of Jamaica,” he said.
Surprisingly for a celebrated sprinter like him, Powell has never won an individual medal in the Olympics though he has two gold medals in the 4x100m relay (n 2008 and 2016). In the Championships, he has won two 100m individual bronze medals (2007 and 2007) besides two gold in 4x100m (2009 and 2015).
Asked if he thinks he will run for Jamaica in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he said, “It is difficult to say now that I will run in 2020 Olympics. I have not thought that far. As of now I feel I can plan to run till 2018.”
Powell said with the advancement in technology and better coaching techniques, more records will tumble and athletes will run faster in future. But, he said that the most important factor for breaking of records was the raw talent of the athlete.
“Coaching play a big role, so does technology. But, ultimately the raw talent is what matters. 100m dash is a very technical race and you need to be perfect if you want to break records. But an athlete having better raw talent are more likely to break records.”
He said Jamaica is considered the nursery of sprint races and athletics is big in his country because of its better nurturing of the sport at the grassroot level.
“The atmosphere at the Junior National Championships is just like that in the Olympic Games. It is big in Jamaica. I think we groom athletes at the grassroot level better,” he said.
Powell said he played cricket for one year during his school days but left the sport for athletics.
“My school cricket team did very badly, so I quit cricket after playing for one year,” he said.
“Cricket was earlier very big in Jamaica. It is still big but athletics is bigger now. Chris Gayle is my friend and I love to watch him play and I want to watch cricket. But I don’t follow cricket much now because I train in United States and no cricket is shown on TV there.”
Asked who’s his sporting idol, Powell said, “While growing up I looked up to my eldest brother Donovan (who represented Jamaica in 4x100m relay in 200 Olympics). Later on, I admired Maurice Green. I wanted to run with him, I did and I beat him.”
Maurice Green is the former 100m world record holder and 2000 Olympics gold medallist.
Powell took part in a discussion organised to motivate the young athletes to take up the sports. Indian sprint legends Milkha Singh, P T Usha and Ashwini Nachappa took part in it.
Powell also took part in a race with the young athletes of the Capital City.