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August 13, 2009

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Powell, 4 others cleared to compete at the worlds

FORMER 100 meters world record holder Asafa Powell and four fellow Jamaican athletes, threatened with a world championship ban, have been cleared to race, his agent said yesterday.

Powell, 100m Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser, 400m Olympic gold medallist Melaine Walker, hurdler Brigitte Foster-Hylton and sprinter Shericka Williams had failed to report for Jamaican national team training in Nuremberg prompting the federation to consider to take them off the team for the world championships starting on Saturday.

"Sometime around 1600 the JAAA (Jamaican Amateur Athletics Association) submitted a letter to the International Association of Athletics Federations asking for the athletes to be relieved from the starting lists," agent Paul Doyle said.

"Some discussions happened and the Jamaican federation sent another letter asking that their earlier letter be withdrawn. Removing the athletes was not good for anybody. If the athletes don't get to run everybody loses."

Powell had earlier said the internal dispute was harming the team.

"I think that the federation to be fighting your own athletes does not make sense," Powell told Reuters Television.

Powell said the five athletes, who all belong to the Maximising Velocity Power racing club, did not know they had to attend the Nuremberg camp.

"We did not know the camp was mandatory," he said.

"We (and coach Stephen Francis) decided to make a change this year and treat this championship like a normal track meeting. I guess that caused all the problem," he said adding the federation has been at odds with Francis for some time.

Powell is considered as one of the potential challengers to fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt, the triple Olympic gold medallist and 100m and 200m world record holder, for the gold medal in Berlin.


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