Powell in command, Bolt out of 100m picture
By Kayon Raynor
KINGSTON (Reuters) - With Usain Bolt a notable absentee, Asafa Powell threw down the gauntlet at the Jamaican national senior trials on Thursday by running a blistering 9.98 seconds to qualify for the 100 metres semi-finals.
Bolt, the world record holder at 100 and 200m, has struggled this year and his absence on Thursday sparked concerns about his fitness ahead of this year's world championships in Beijing, where he is set to defend his sprint titles.
Bolt's agent, Ricky Simms, said the 10-times world championship medalist had been entered only as an option.
"Usain was never confirmed to run at the trials," said Simms. "He put his name in to have the option.
"I already told the media that coach (Glen) Mills would make a decision on Wednesday if he needed the race or if he preferred him to train ahead of Paris and Lausanne (next month)."
Bolt is scheduled to run Diamond League races in Paris on July 4, an event he pulled out of last year with a foot injury, and Lausanne five days later.
Bolt's absence did not seem to sap the motivation of former world record holder Powell, who blasted out of the blocks in lane five and built a commanding lead by halfway before cruising home, with Yohan Blake trailing five metres behind after a horrid start.
Powell said his coach had told him to power out to 40m and control the race from there. Continued...