Monday, June 16, 2014
Jamaicans ready for Gay, Powell to return
By Christopher Chavez
Nesta Carter and his competitors welcome the returns of Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell.
NEW YORK -– Jamaican sprinters Yohan Blake, Warren Weir and Nesta Carter met with the media ahead of last weekend’s adidas Grand Prix meet in New York City, offering their opinions on the impending returns of fellow sprinters Tyson Gay (USA) and Asafa Powell (Jamaica) from shortened doping suspensions.
A dark cloud loomed over track and field last July when Gay and Powell tested positive for banned substances prior to the IAAF World Championships in Moscow.
The news of Powell’s positive test was released just days after Carter ran 9.87 in Madrid on July 13. Initial reports named Carter as one of five Jamaicans busted for doping, but there was no connection and his name was cleared.
Carter is excited for the return of Powell, his former training partner.
“Well, I’m happy that he’s coming back soon. It was a problem that should have been dealt with a long time ago,” Carter told ESPN. “I’m just happy for him to be back, because the situation was more than some people made of it. I’m grateful that he gets another chance.”
Powell is no longer with the MVP Track Club headed by coach Stephen Francis. After his positive test, there was friction between the two parties and they decided to part ways.
“It’s been a bit different. His charisma on the team was very good. He always motivates people that look up to him,” Carter said. “I, myself, look up to him. He has one of the greatest starts of all-time. My coach is very good at doing starts. I learned from him.”
Carter also called Gay a “role model” during his press conference. The Jamaican has only beat Gay once in the nine times they have gone head-to-head in 100-meter races.
“Once Tyson is in the race, you have to have your A game to get ready for that race,” Carter said. “He’s going to come and give it 110 percent. The higher the competition, the more you stay focused to train as hard as possible.”
Marvin Bracy, a 20-year-old who trains with Gay in Claremont, Florida, offered insight into the return of the 100-meter American record holder.
“He’s ready. I lock up with him every day in practice,” Bracy said. “He’s pushing his body to levels that he hasn’t even reached before. I’m doing the same. The world is in for a lot.”
Gay returns to the 100-meter dash at the Lausanne Diamond League Meeting on July 3. Blake has opted to race the 200-meter dash at the same meet, but is anxious for a face-off against Gay.
“I love competition,” Blake said. “I love running against really fast guys. I love when the race is fast. (Gay) could come back even sooner and I’ll be ready.”
The 2011 100-meter World Champion is no stranger to a comeback. Blake served a three-month suspension after testing positive for a stimulant in 2009. The Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission that suspended him also came under fire last August after their lack of drug testing before the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London was revealed by Sports Illustrated.
Blake offered no comment on the status of the testing now, but compatriot Weir is all for random screenings.
“I’m tested frequently,” Weir said. “I am open to taking frequent drug tests. I welcome it any time of day.”
Carter won the 100-meter dash at the Grand Prix in 10.09 seconds, with Blake second in 10.21. Weir won the 200 meters in 19.82.