Powell pulls out of Bolt-Gay showdown with injury
By Joe Battaglia,
| Posted: Aug 4, 4:36p ET | Updated: Aug 5, 5:36a ET
Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell has scratched from the highly-anticipated showdown with countryman Usain Bolt and American Tyson Gay in the 100m at the Diamond League meet in Stockholm. Powell has suffered a groin injury and subsequent hamstring and back issues.
The much anticipated showdown between the three fastest men in history has been reduced to a duel now that Jamaican Asafa Powell has scratched from a highly-anticipated showdown with Usain Bolt and American Tyson Gay in the 100m at the Diamond League DN Galan meeting in Stockholm.
According to a statement released by Powell's agent Paul Doyle, Powell suffered a minor groin injury in his loss to Bolt at the Diamond League Paris meet on July 16 and has endured a number of setbacks since, including hamstring and back issues.
Powell has resumed training but has been unable to go full bore in workouts.
"This morning, Asafa tested himself with starts from blocks and was just unable to push from the blocks without severe pain," the statement read. "He has improved over the course of the past week but is still not at a level where he could attempt a race."
Powell is the current Diamond League leader in the 100m with 10 points, but a prolonged absence could put his chances of winning in jeopardy. With three races remaining, Powell could easily be passed by Richard Thompson of Trinidad & Tobago, who is in second with six points, Bolt, who is in third with four points, or even Gay, who has yet to race an official Diamond League points 100m.
But more immediately, it removes him from what was being billed as the race of the year. Bolt, the triple World and Olympic champion, and Powell share the fastest time in the world this year at 9.82, while Gay has run 9.89. Bolt and Gay will still square off on Friday, the first meeting of the season between the two.
The last time all three sprinters had met was in the 100m final at the World Championships in Berlin last August, when Bolt lowered his world record to a preposterous 9.58 seconds while Gay finished second in 9.71, an American record he would lower to 9.68 later in the summer, and Powell took third in 9.95.
Bolt has won 14 consecutive 100m races since his last defeat, which came at the hands of Powell in Stockholm just prior to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
"I am absolutely devastated," Powell said in the statement. "I was really looking forward to the race against Usain and Tyson. This year I have been running very well and I was hoping that I would be in the race with a solid chance to win, but with the way my back and legs have been feeling I know it would be difficult to even finish the race."