FORMER 100m world record holder Asafa Powell will be the star attraction in the Stawell Gift this year.
Powell’s appearance is a major coup for the Stawell Athletic Club.
The 30-year-old will become the fastest man ever to run at a Stawell Easter Carnival.
Powell is a three-time Olympic 100m finalist.
“I’ve been ready to come down (to Stawell) a couple of times over the past few years, but I’m happy to say that this year will be the year,” Powell said from his home in Jamaica.
Powell will also be the first 100m world record holder to run at Stawell in 62 years.
American Barney Ewell and Panama’s Lloyd LaBeach competed in the Gift in consecutive years in the early 1950s.
Powell held the 100m world record from June, 2005, to May, 2008.
He ran 9.77 seconds three times before eclipsing that with 9.74 in Italy.
The time stood until Usain Bolt set the first of three 100m world records of 9.72 seconds in New York in 2008.
Powell is the fourth fastest over 100m of all time before Bolt (9.58), Yohan Blake (9.69) and Tyson Gay (9.69).
Powell believes he will need to be in sub-10 second shape and run faster than a 10-second 100m to make the 120m Gift final on Monday, April 1.
Powell’s former training partner, Michael Frater, went within a whisker of making the Gift final last year after a close second in a semi-final.
“Michael told me about the great time he had last year and he came really close to making the final,” Powell said.
“I’ve watched the finals and know about Josh Ross and his win from scratch.
“So I’d like to become the third man to do that.
“Like most Jamaican sprinters, I’ve grown up running on grass and a lot of our training is done on grass, so that’s no problem.
“The handicaps are a different story, though.”
Powell has recovered from the re-occurrence of a groin injury which affected his performance in the London Olympic 100m final, where he finished last.
He finished fifth in the 100m finals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.