Former world record-holder Asafa Powell looked comfortable in his first competitive 100-meter race of 2009, clocking 10.23 seconds to win at the season-opening World Athletics Tour meet on Thursday.
Powell, who finished fifth at the Beijing Olympics behind fellow Jamaican and current record-holder Usain Bolt, surged out of the blocks and finished two meters ahead of countryman Nesta Carter (10.42) and New Zealand's David Ambler (10.52).
Running into a 1.4-meter head wind and in cool conditions at Melbourne Olympic Park, Powell said he was satisfied with his run.
"It was a bit cold, the wind was heavy, but I'm still satisfied. I made it through," he said.
Powell, who held the former 100 world mark at 9.74 seconds until Bolt lowered the record to 9.69, was aiming to finish in under 10 seconds for the 49th time in his career.
"I'm not feeling bad about that race because the conditions were very poor," he said. "So I'm excited to see what's going to happen in the next event."
Powell, 26, held the 100 world record between June 2005 and May 2008, and won gold at Beijing as part of Jamaica's 4x100 relay team.
"I really just wanted to get this race over with," he said. "The first race always messes with your mind. I got it over with, I know where I'm at, so I'm excited.
"This season I'm stronger and working harder than ever before, so I'm pretty confident about this season."
Powell, now working with a sports psychologist and with an altered training regimen, deflected talk of challenging Bolt for the record this year.
"I'm working hard this year and I'm really working to match myself, because I'm the one who's always beaten myself."
Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker of Australia cleared 19 feet to win on his home soil. Hooker, who set an Olympic record at Beijing when he cleared 19 feet, 5 inches, set the bar at 19 feet, 6 inches after winning his event, but failed to better his height.
Olympic champion Melane Walker of Jamaica started slowly and never challenged as she finished third in the women's 400 behind Australia's Tamsyn Lewis and Monique Lewis of New Zealand. Tamsyn Lewis finished in 51.86 _ Walker was timed in 52.26.
In the women's 100-meter hurdles, Olympic silver medalist Sally McLellan of Australia held off Jamaica's Brigitte Foster.
"Beating Bridgitte is a really big accomplishment," McLellan said. "She's the Commonwealth Games champion and I'm going to face her when I go over to the World Championships this year."
In the men's hurdles, Olympic bronze medalist David Oliver ran a 13.6 to beat fellow American Joel Brown, who finished in 13.91. Australia's Justin Merlino was third.
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