SHANGHAI May 13 – Asafa Powell said he hopes to set a personal best 100 metres time at Sunday's Diamond League meet in Shanghai, despite a hamstring injury that led to a last-place 200m finish a week ago.The former world record holder said he started out fast at the beginning of the 2010 season, clocking a heat time of 9.75sec a year ago in Doha, and the start of this season could be even better.
"I’m just looking forward to seeing what I can do," Powell told a pre-meet news conference on Friday, adding: "Hopefully I’ll run a personal best on Sunday."
"I opened very fast in Doha and my coach says I’m in better shape than I was last year. So who knows? Let’s watch and see," he said.
Powell has an ambitious season ahead where he will square off with both his rivals — the world’s fastest man and fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt and American Tyson Gay — before the World Championships in South Korea in late August.
Bolt holds the world record with a time of 9.58, while Powell’s personal best is 9.72.
Powell’s showdown with Bolt is set for May 26 in Rome and he is due to race Gay in Birmingham on July 10 and London on August 5-6. Bolt and Gay are not scheduled to race each other.
"It’s good for me that I can meet them before the World Championships. That gives me a confidence boost to know where I’m at in training and what I need to work on," Powell said.
However, in addition to the "small" hamstring injury suffered in Kingston on May 7, Powell said he was still yet to fully recover from the back problem that forced an early end to his 2010 season.
"It took four months to get better and it has been holding up so far. It’s not 100 percent, but it’s enough for me to run fast," he said.
Powell is headlining Sunday’s event along with Carmelita Jeter, the world’s fastest woman over 100m this year, and China’s former Olympic 110m hurdles champion Liu Xiang.