Jamaica's Asafa Powell, centre, cruises to victory in the Men's 100m final at the
IAAF Melbourne Grand Prix meet in a time of 10.04 seconds [AFP]


Asafa Powell, world record holder, got his Olympic preparations off to a flying start with an emphatic win in his first 100m race of the year at the Melbourne IAAF Track Classic.

Powell put aside concerns over a cut left knee, which forced him out of last weekend's Sydney track meet, to run a meet-record 10.04 seconds with Jamaican compatriot Michael Frater in second (10.25) and Australian Matt Shirvington third (10.35).

The 25-year-old had the race at his mercy within 20 metres and never let up.

"I'm very surprised because I haven't done anything for two weeks and tonight's the first time in spikes since then. It was way faster than I thought," Powell said.

His likely match-up against American 100m world champion Tyson Gay, who had his measure last year in Osaka, shapes as one of the most anticipated events of the Beijing Olympics.

I haven't done anything in two weeks. 10.04 is very impressive.
"It's very important (running here) for my training," Powell said.

"I came to Australia to train and race and my training wouldn't be complete if I didn't run here.

"It proves I'm way faster than 2006. I haven't done anything in two weeks. 10.04 is very impressive.

"This year I'm way, way stronger than the last few years. I've just got to stay on the track."

Wariner and Mottram win

Powell's winning time was just one-hundredth of a second slower than the 10.03 he ran to win the Commonwealth title in Melbourne two years ago.

The Jamaican, who olds the world record of 9.74 set in Italy last September, also broke the 10-year-old meet record of 10.06 set by former Olympic and world champion Maurice Greene of the United States.

In other events, Jeremy Wariner, Olympic and world champion from the United States, won the 400m in 44.82 and Australian Craig Mottram powered away in the final 250 metres of the 5000m to win the national title in 13:11.99.

Wariner had been feeling below par since arriving in Australia and needed medical assistance after suffering dehydration following Thursday's race.

However on the track he was untouchable, leaving Australians Clinton Hill (45.78) and Sean Wroe (45.88) to fight out the minor placings.

"I had a great race today, I got to see where I was in my training and now I go back and rest for a couple of days and then get back on the grind," Wariner said.

"This is a really fast start for me this early in February."

Source: Agencies