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Powell hints at snubbing US-Jamaica showdown

Asafa Powell, the world's second-fastest man, might skip the US-Jamaica Sprint Challenge that officials from both countries have agreed to stage starting next year.

"I don't really see the importance of it," Powell said. "There are many Grand Prix and Golden League meets out there that we are going to be competing in against each other, so it doesn't make any sense to me."

None of those offer USA Track and Field or the Jamaican Amateur Athletic Association the benefits from a head-to-head showdown of their sprint stars from the Beijing Olympics.

Jamaican women rolled past their US counterparts while Jamaica's Usain Bolt electrified the sport with world records at 100 and 200 metres to claim gold.

But Powell sees no need for a nation-on-nation matchup when such meets as this year's World Championship in August at Berlin serve a similar purpose with other global greats included as well.

"The World Championships is coming up and they are going to be out there, the same athletes, so I don't really see the relevance of it," Powell said.

USA Track and Field announced a 2010 start to the event, which will feature men's and women's 100, 200 and 400 metres, 100m or 110m hurdles plus 400m hurdles, long jump and the 4x100, 4x400 and sprint medley relays.

"We are confident that this kind of team competition, featuring the most exciting events in athletics, will prove captivating to fans around the world," USA Track and Field chief executive Doug Logan said last month in announcing the event.

Copyright 2009 AFP American Edition
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Publication:AFP American Edition
Date:Apr 8, 2009
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