Former holder of men's 100 metres world record Asafa Powell has expressed his support for fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt, saying the fastest man in the world suffering with injury is just "a phase".
"Usain's not there," Xinhua quoted the 32-year-old, who's racing the 100 metres sprint at the eighth event of this season's Diamond League series here at the Stade de France on Saturday, as saying on Thursday. (Bolt Pulls Out of Paris Diamond League Meet)
"It's good for the sport to have him since he's the world No.1 and world record holder," Powell said. "It's good to have him in the race to draw the crowd and excitement." (Bolt Withdraws From Jamaican National Championships)
Six-time Olympic champion Bolt was forced out of the Paris meeting together with the next stop in Laussane next week due to an uncomfortable left leg, which also ruled him out of the Jamaican trials late last month.
The 28-year-old double record holder and reigning Olympic and world champion has not completed a full season since 2013. (Usain Bolt: A Champion Athlete on Track, 'Neighbour From Hell' at Home)
"Usain's been running fast for years and I don't see why he shouldn't come back and run fast," said Powell. "It's just a phase."
"We all get injuries," added Powell, who won two bronze medals in 100m races in 2007 and 2009 World Championships.
"I've been injured over the years and I'm still running fast. It's just for him to get over this and come back for the world championships and next year."
Powell suggested that Bolt, who has just run four races this season with disappointing results, should not try too hard considering his physical conditions.
"If he's not 100 percent, I think he should focus mainly on the relays or 200m because the 100m is going to be very difficult," he said. "Hopefully he can get back into shape and feel like his old self and try to do the two races."
"But we need him strong for the relay," Powell added.
Bolt clocked 20.29 seconds in 200 metres, more than a second off his world record of 19.19 seconds, in his latest race in New York, which he described as a "really bad" one, "probably one of the worst turns I've ever had in my entire life."
He will spend the next couple of days in Munich getting treatment before resuming full training in his quest to defend his titles at the August 22-30 worlds in Beijing.
In 2013, the Jamaican won three gold medals at the 2013 World Championships in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4x100 metres relay.