Gatlin, Gay, Powell battle for 100m race
LAUSAN NE, July 8
Lovers of clean track and field will be cringing at Thursday’s Diamond League meet in Lausanne when doping cheats Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay come to face to face in what is sure to be an explosive 100m.
Usain Bolt has pulled out of a 200m in the Swiss city with a pelvis problem, although he insists he will compete in next month’s world championships in Beijing. In his absence, a stellar field of the world’s fastest men will meet, with Asafa Powell also featuring. With an ever-creeping shadow of doubt over the towering Jamaican Bolt’s form and fitness, Gatlin and Gay both have the chance to notch up a significant psychological blow by putting in a solid evening of sprinting in the city that is home to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Ironically, Gay’s doping infringement was touched upon at last weekend’s Diamond League meet in Paris, where the French men’s 4x100m relay quartet were handed bronze medals from the 2012 London Olympics as a result of the US being stripped of their silver medals by the IOC. Mike Rodgers will also line up on Thursday. “It’s just another race, the fourth since the season started,” said Gay, who finished second to Gatlin in his first race back from his ban in Lausanne last season. “I have to run as much as I can before the world championships in Beijing. I’m back from suspension; I’ve worked a lot on my mind, to learn how to control my body.”
The 2004 Olympic champion Gatlin, who came back to win Olympic bronze in London in 2012 and world silver in Moscow a year later, currently has the world’s best time this season, having run 9.74sec in the opening Diamond League meet in Doha. Former world record holder Powell, a four-time winner in Lausanne (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011) and victor in Paris last weekend ahead of France’s Jimmy Vicaut and Rodgers, has run the second fastest (9.81) this season and double 2007 world sprint champion Gay the third quickest (9.87). One notable absentee from the Stade de la Pontaise apart from Bolt will be Croatian high jumper Blanka Vlasic.