Olympic and double world relay gold medallist Asafa Powell has withdrawn from Jamaica's team for this weekend's third IAAF World Relays event in the Bahamas.
The team's technical leader, Maurice Wilson, confirmed to Reuters by phone on Thursday that Powell, twice world 100-metre bronze medallist, was among three athletes to pull out of the team currently heading for the Bahamas.
"I've been informed that Asafa Powell is not available; Julian Forte is also not available; Rusheen McDonald is also out. Those are experienced athletes that would make a big difference to the composition of the team," Wilson said.
Powell's absence is a huge blow to the Jamaican team, which is already without eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt, who did not make himself available.
Powell's publicist, Tara Playfair-Scott, told Reuters on Thursday the 34-year-old's decision to withdraw was strategic.
"We're just being very selective in what he runs, because he has Doha [Diamond League meet] next week," she said.
"To do World Relays and Doha, to come back to do all of the other stuff … we want to do as limited amount [of races] as possible and just focus on the bigger ones," Playfair-Scott added.
Wilson also revealed that two of Jamaica's top female competitors might be competing in only one relay each.
"I've not had any final discussion with the coach [Stephen Francis], but I was advised that [Olympic sprint double gold medallist] Elaine Thompson would only be available for the 4x200 and Shericka Jackson (Olympic and world championship 400 bronze medallist] for the 4x200 as well," Wilson added.
Despite the withdrawals, Wilson is confident the Jamaica team will do well in the Bahamas.