Daegu: A despondent Asafa Powell said Saturday he still harboured hopes of clinching an elusive global sprinting title after injury forced him out of the 100m at the world championships. (Agencies)
The Jamaican, the fastest man in the world this season over 100m and defending champion Usain Bolt's biggest rival in South Korea, pulled out on Thursday with a groin injury but vowed to come back stronger for the Olympics.
"I'm very down right now because I have trained 11 months for this and to come here and not be able to compete, I feel very disturbed about it," said the 28-year-old.
Powell said he came to Daegu with real hopes of winning his first world or Olympic title despite the presence of his compatriot Bolt, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion in both the 100 and 200m.
"I'm very frustrated but over the years I've been injured and I keep going and keep going and this won't stop me," the rueful sprinter said, adding he felt fated not to win a global title.
"I'm motivated to really come back and prove to the world that I definitely can run fast and run fast under pressure just to really prove to the world that I'm here and here to stay," he added.
Powell said even if he never won a global gold, he would still take enormous satisfaction from his career and would "retire as one of the best sprinters that has ever touched a track".
The sprinter said he had run through pain many times before but on this occasion it was too much and he did not want to jeopardise his chances at next year's London Olympics.
When asked who he thought would win the 100m in his absence, he said: "It's quite an open field. All the guys are running pretty much in the same region so I don't know how it's going to end. Hopefully a Jamaican will win."
Powell, who still harbours hopes of making the the 4x100m relay team on the last night of action at the worlds on September 4, said Bolt had the experience but his rivals, including Jamaican Michael Frater - who took Powell's spot, were in the mix.
The men's 100m kicks off on the opening day of the Daegu worlds Saturday, with the final being run on Sunday night.
Powell's withdrawal from the 100m comes as devastating news for sports fans who have revelled in the move back to prime form from the affable Jamaican who held the world record between June 2005 and May 2008.
It also accompanies the pull-outs of American Tyson Gay (injury) and Jamaican Steve Mullings (doping), effectively depriving Bolt of running against his three biggest rivals on the world stage.
Powell clocked a world season lead of 9.78 seconds at the Lausanne Diamond League in early July, dipping under the 9.8sec mark for the eighth time in his career.
Only Bolt (five times with a world record best of 9.58sec) and Gay (five times with a best of 9.69sec) have run faster, while another Jamaican, Nesta Carter, has also managed to time 9.78sec once in his career.
Daegu: A despondent Asafa Powell said Saturday he still harboured hopes of clinching an elusive global sprinting title after injury forced him out of the 100m at the world championships.