Powell seeks another sprint record in Brussels

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BRUSSELS, Sep 13 (Reuters) Asafa Powell believes he can break his 100 metre world record for the second time in less than a week but only if race officials tomorrow's Golden League meeting in Brussels do their job properly.

The Jamaican sprinter -- who lowered his own 100 metres world record to 9.74 seconds in Italy on Sunday -- blamed the starting official at last year's Van Damme meeting for denying him the chance to set a new record.

After a slow start he won the race in 9.99 seconds.

''I know I can run faster than 9.74, because I sprinted at only about 90 per cent. I just also hope the starter doesn't give me problems like last year,'' Powell told reporters ahead of tomorrow's event.

Organisers in Brussels had hoped to pit Powell and American world sprint champion Tyson Gay against each other but Gay, who won gold medals in the 100 metres, 200 and 4x100 relay at the world championships in Osaka, has decided to skip the meeting.

''I fully understand Tyson that he doesn't want to compete right now as he is tired,'' Powell said.

''But in the future I would like to focus as less as possible on other athletes, I should focus on my own race. Only in that way I should be able to get my Olympic gold next year.'' Despite the disappointment of not seeing a Powell-Gay showdown, the 47,000 sell-out crowd can still expect some excitement in the first of two Golden League meetings in three days. European athletics' elite series moves to Berlin on Sunday.

Two athletes -- US 400 metre runner Sanya Richards and Russian pole vaulter Jelena Isinbajeva -- remain in contention for a share of this season's lucrative jackpot prize.

Richards has had mixed emotions in recent weeks, setting a world year best of 49.36 seconds at the Golden League in Zurich and helping her US team to a gold medal in the 4x400 relay in Osaka.

She failed to qualify for the US team in the individual 400 metres in Japan and finished fifth in the 200.

''I was disappointed with Osaka, but not extremely disappointed. I've been ill this year and I did leave Osaka with a gold medal,'' Richards said.

''It was really intense in Zurich, I really wanted to win that race and stay in the hunt for the jackpot. I was successful so I'm smiling again.'' REUTERS BJR DS1650

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