Hamstring still affecting Asafa Powell

STAWELL, Australia -- Former world record holder Asafa Powell's left hamstring injury, which forced him to pull up during the 100-meter race at the London Olympics, is still giving him problems more than seven months later.

Powell experienced soreness during the warm-up Saturday for the 120-meter Stawell Gift handicap race in western Victoria state. Powell, 30, considered withdrawing from the race rather than risk further injury but ran and finished third in his heat.

However, he was unable to run at full pace, finishing in 12.24 seconds after starting the heat from scratch. Powell said he did not feel he would be fit enough to run again at Stawell even if he qualified for Monday's semifinals.

The injury places in doubt his appearance in the 100 meters at April 6's IAAF Melbourne Track Classic.

Powell, a member of the world record-setting 4x100-meter Jamaican relay team that won gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, had been billed as the best-credentialed runner to contest the Stawell race in its 131-year history.

On Wednesday after his arrival in Australia, Powell said the turf track at the country town's Central Park should pose no problems because he trains on grass regularly at home in Jamaica.

And he said then that he thought his injury issues might be over.

"I'm in good shape, if not the best yet because I'm still in background training and I haven't really started speed training," Powell said then. "I'm strong right now and very excited to see what I can do on the track."

Stawell is a former gold rush town located about 145 miles west of Melbourne. Its biggest single tourist attraction each year is the Stawell Gift.