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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Asafa Powell advice to Aussie sprinters - 'You need a lot more work; Get in the gym'

Asafa Powell advice to Aussie sprinters - 'You need a lot more work; Get in the gym'

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Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/athletics/white-boys-can-run-says-powell-20130406-2hdli.html#ixzz2PpQTqAgP

White boys can run, says Powell

By Daniel Lane
Sydney Morning Herald
Date April 7, 2013


The visiting track ace liked what he saw in three Australian youngsters this week, writes Daniel Lane.



Asafa Powell in Melbourne during the week checking out the form of young Australian sprinter Jarrod Geddes.

Mighty Asafa Powell, the sub-10- second king of the 100-metre sprint, watched the skinny, white Australian take his mark, set, and, with a twitch of his muscle fibres, explode into a blur of speed and … smiled approvingly.

While Powell said Sydney's Jarrod Geddes, who finished sixth in the World Youth Championships final in France in 2011 had a long way to go, he conceded the Aussie's progress was actually millimetres better than his at the same stage of their careers.

''I think he was where I was, or just a bit in front, at 19,'' said Powell. ''His [personal best] 10.37 [seconds] is good … he has a lot more in him.''

The data suggests Geddes has a future. When the now 30-year-old Powell won the Jamaican under-20 title 11 years ago he ran 10.5s - and Geddes won his national under-20 crown a fortnight ago in 10.48.

Adding to the hype about Geddes is that O'Dail Todd, the Jamaican who won the world youth championships gold medal when the pair lined up against each other in France, also ran 10.48s at the Caribbean island's high school championships.

Powell noted Geddes was at about the same age when he decided he could move like lightning.

''When I was 18 my coach looked at me and said I could be the best in the world,'' he said. ''I laughed … I didn't believe. It wasn't until I broke 10 seconds that I took it seriously.''

Geddes' effort just to be on the starting blocks suggested he possessed the desire - and drive - Powell rates as crucial. He returned to the track last summer after his hamstring was torn from the bone. The doctor who operated on him had performed the surgery only once before and there were fears the kid might have to hang the spikes up for good.

''I want to succeed,'' Geddes said. ''I want to help make Australians embrace athletics but if I don't … I want to inspire the next generation of Australian athletes to do well. I'll see that as an achievement.''

Along with Andrew McCabe and Tim Leathart, Geddes was hand-picked to join the Pirtek Athletic Allstars speed squadron, a group of printers identified as good enough to help a footy and cricket-obsessed nation embrace athletics.

Their manager, Hayden Knowles, described the expression session with Powell as a reality check to gauge where the trio were. He told the Jamaican superstar there was to be no sugar-coating or false praise and Fairfax Media realised Powell had acknowledged the request to be brutally honest when he took Geddes aside.

''You need a lot more work,'' he said. ''Get into the gym … build up muscle. The first 60m of a race is when you need the power. As a sprinter you need to hit the 60m [mark] very hard. That's why you need to hit the gym more, and you need to work on your starts.

''Work hard. What makes our training so good is our coach [Steve Francis] is very hard. If it's raining in Jamaica, he's like 'it's not raining anywhere else in the world, so train'.''

Powell, who has broken the 10s barrier on a record 88 occasions, is the fourth fastest man in history and he blazed the way for Usain Bolt to fly. He dismisses the notion that a troop of Caucasians from down under could not join him, and their fellow Aussie Patrick Johnson, in the most revered club in athletics.

''Definitely it's possible they can run sub-10,'' he said. ''It just takes a lot of work. I think another thing in Jamaica is we really love track and field. From a very young age we're running … you guys have Aussie Rules.

''It takes time and a lot of work. Coaching has a lot to do with it as well.''

And, so too, does self-belief and desire. Powell told the three that after he watched Maurice Greene star at the 2000 Sydney Olympics he wrote in his school year book he'd one day become the world's fastest man.

''If you don't believe in yourself it doesn't make sense - you have to believe in yourself,'' he said. ''Up until I was 23 I didn't care about anything. I was just running and my coach told me that was why I was running so fast … I just didn't care about anything.

''I was just relaxed and going through the motions. When you take everything too serious and start to think about winning and start to think about outcomes rather than what it takes to get there [it goes wrong].''

McCabe, who was pitted against Yohan Blake in the 4 x 100m relay final at the London Olympics, spent time working on his starts under Powell's guidance. The man regarded as the athletic world's best starter said the secret to his success was simple. ''My coach and I worked on it for years,'' Powell said. ''He wouldn't let me stop until I got it right and it takes a lot of work.''

Powell, who plans to one day mentor sprinters, took time out to drill it into Leathart - the reserve for Australia's 4 x 100m London relay team - that at his stage of his career he had to decide whether ''distractions'' were more important than his chance to succeed in his sport.

Although, Powell could not help but laugh when reminded his coach started 5.30am training sessions to help curb his nocturnal activities when he found fame as the planet's fastest human.

''Distractions, they're always there,'' Powell said.

''But you have to know where to put everything and I put myself in the right atmosphere; I put myself in that atmosphere to take away from the outside world.

''But I saw where [running] was going. I came back from Europe and Jamaicans were excited about how we were competing and that became a motivation. I decided to put in some more work.''

Knowles, who earlier this year took a squad of runners, which included Geddes and McCabe, to Jamaica to learn the tricks of the trade, was adamant the relationship he was forging with the nation that produced the world's best sprinters would help Australia to one day win its first Olympic 100m medal since Hector Hogan took bronze in the 1956 Melbourne Games.

''I think we're privileged,'' he said of the burgeoning alliance. ''We've found true believers in Australian athletics in people like Asafa Powell who has opened a new world to these three boys.

''Jamaica's national coach, Maurice Wilson, has taken an interest in Australia's sprinters after we spent a fortnight with him and his squad because he saw the desire and the hunger.''

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