06 July 2010
The world’s fastest man in 2010, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, has tipped the Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland team for success at London 2012 ahead of the Aviva British Grand Prix in Gateshead on July 10.
The former 100m world record holder commented on the standard of British athletics prior to the Aviva British Grand Prix and sees them as a viable threat in what is the greatest athletic competition.
He said: “Seeing that London 2012 will be at the British athletes’ home, they should shine. I know there are a lot more young athletes coming up – we just have to see what they have to offer. I'm pretty sure they’re going to go out there and give 100% to make their country proud.
“I used to train with Simeon Williamson. The Jamaicans, US and the British – I think those three countries have the best athletes in the world, I just think it’s just a matter of time before they come back out on top.”
The 27-year-old spoke of his thoughts on British athletics whilst training in Jamaica, following outstanding runs in his recent meets, earning himself first place in the Samsung Diamond League meets in Doha, Oslo and Rome.
He said: “I’ve been performing very well. My training has been going well and the season has been going well, so I just want to continue with that. I just want to get better and better as the season goes by... and faster and faster each competition.”
Powell will be on the blocks alongside a strong contingent of seven British athletes, some of whom put in impressive runs at the Aviva European Trials and UK Championships last weekend, including Marlon Devonish, Mark Lewis-Francis and Craig Pickering.
International competitors also have a large role to play with American Tyson Gay, the much publicised rival of Powell, adding to the field. Powell and Gay will be meeting in Gateshead for the first time on British soil, the head-to-head has cemented the 100m as one of the most anticipated events at the Aviva British Grand Prix and Powell is confident of a strong performance from both.
Powell said: “He’s [Gay] a great competitor but you know I'm there to compete and I’m there to win, so I definitely do not focus on any one person, or anything like that. There’s a lot more guys in the race and I just want to be the one who is on top.
“With or without him, I'm going out there to run fast. It doesn't really matter but you know sometimes when you have stronger competitors in the race, it kind of pushes you a bit more. You know you’re a professional athlete so you really have to compete with or without strong competition.
“This will be my third time competing in Gateshead I think. The first time I ran the World Record in Gateshead in 2006 and then I was back there again in 2008. I love running there, it’s fabulous competing with such big Jamaican support there in the UK. The British, everyone they really love us and support us a lot so I love coming there to compete.”
Councillor Linda Green, Gateshead Council cabinet member for culture, said:
“It’s really good to hear the Jamaican Asafa Powell’s fondness for Gateshead, a place where he achieved his world record 100m sprint. The fact that Tyson Gay, the United States sprint superstar, will also be competing bringing the two together for the first time on British soil, makes it an even more exciting prospect.
“It only underlines Gateshead International Stadium’s world class facilities, elevated position in the international athletics world and status as European City of Sport 2010.
“What more inspiration could our residents need to be active and healthy than having two of histories best ever sprinters meet head to head right here in Gateshead.”
Stacy Hall, Director of Communications and Tourism, One North East said:
“We are delighted to once again be supporting the Aviva British Grand Prix at Gateshead International Stadium. We recognise the role of major sporting events in a growing regional economy. Events of this nature attract visitors and their spend, and bring positive media attention to the region, helping us present the region to the world as an exciting, vibrant place to visit, study and do business.”
Diversity, Britain’s top dance act, will open the Aviva British Grand Prix. The winners of Britain’s Got Talent 2009 will be bringing their own brand of athleticism to the Gateshead International Stadium with an impressive performance which is certain to wow the crowds.
Tickets for the Aviva British Grand Prix at the Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead, on July 10 are available by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at www.uka.org.uk
Ticket prices are as follows: In tier 2, it’s adults £10, concession £8 and in the Family Zone it’s £10 for adults and £3 for concessions.
If you can’t get down to the Gateshead International Stadium to see the live action make sure you catch it on BBC 2 1630-1930