BEIJING, China: Asafa Powell is in tremendous shape and is ready to contend for the gold medal. That is the message from his brother and coach, Donovan Powell, as the two-time World 100m bronze medallist arrived in Beijing, China, yesterday ahead of this weekend’s start of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics inside the Bird’s Nest. Donovan has been coaching his younger brother for over a year and has seen him post seven sub-10 seconds times this year, with a season best mark of 9.81 seconds, which makes him the second-fastest man behind American Justin Gatlin. It’s part of the reason behind a renewed sense of confidence around the former World 100m record holder and his handlers, with his coach believing that he’s in shape to take the top spot. “It’s been a great experience coaching him (Asafa). I’m just guiding him; it doesn’t seem to me that I’m coaching him. It feels like I’m just guiding him, and I’m trying to guide him in the right direction,” Donovan told The Gleaner. “He is in tremendous shape now, his weight is down and we are looking forward to the competition, to getting him through the rounds without problems.” The coach went on to state that though he does not necessarily think he would need to do a personal best in order to win a medal here, he is confident that Asafa will lower his all-time best 9.72 this year and quite possibly here in Beijing. “I’ve told him to just be confident, go out there and execute and run his own race,” said Donovan. “We are looking for a PB this year, and I see where we can get that done here. “He (Asafa) is just more confident now, and I think he is ready to go. He has a chance to win that gold, and if he does the right thing, then that can certainly make that happen,” added Donovan. “Furthermore, it’s not like a bunch of guys are running fast, I think 9.8 can get him on the podium, but I’m looking for a PB, personally,” he said. Powell’s personal best came in Lausanne in 2008.
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush is issuing a disaster declaration for California counties hurt by the January deep freeze that caused some $1.3 billion in crop losses, Sen. Barbara Boxer said Tuesday. The declaration will allow farmers affected by the freeze that wiped out citrus and other crops to apply for federal disaster unemployment assistance and food commodities. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Boxer, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and congressional representatives had written to the White House repeatedly to ask for the declaration. Administration officials confirmed to Boxer that it was being issued. The five-night freeze was the most extensive the state had experienced since 1947, according to Boxer and Feinstein, and affected crops for 500 miles through the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, the Central Coast and Southern California. “This took too long as far as I am concerned, but I am very pleased we are finally moving forward,” Boxer said. “There has been so much suffering in California because of this unprecedented freeze, and I am pleased that help is finally on the way.” Members of California’s congressional delegation also are working to include money to help citrus farmers and others in an emergency war spending bill that is expected to reach the House floor next week. According to bill language circulating Tuesday, the bill includes $20 million to help citrus farmers with cleanup, and billions more for crop losses nationwide, some of which California farmers could access. The bill also has $25 million in assistance to spinach growers in the aftermath of the E. Coli scare that hit the Central Valley growers last fall, and $60.4 million for Klamath River salmon fishermen who’ve suffered a curtailed fishing season. However, Democratic House leaders planned to use the spending bill as a vehicle for controversial language demanding troop withdrawals for Iraq, so its fate is uncertain.