Sports / Track and field

Gatlin is not unbeatable, say Powell & Gay

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-07-09 10:43

Gatlin is not unbeatable, say Powell & Gay

Justin Gatlin celebrates after winning the 200m in a meet record 19.57 in the 2015 USA Championships at Hayward Field. [Photo/Agencies] 

LAUSANNE, Switzerland - Three of world's top five sprinters Justin Gatlin, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay will compete against each at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting Athletissima on Thursday, with the latter two aiming to beat Gatlin, so far fastest man of this year.

"Justin Gatlin unbeatable? I don't know who this guy thinks he is. He is the 5th fastest man, so clearly he can be beaten," Powell told a press conference here on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old Jamaican ran the third fastest 100 meters of the year to win on 9.81 seconds at the Paris Diamond League meeting just four days ago, as both the faster results ahead of him is under Gatlin's name.

"Big races like these are what people pay to see. I am happy to an early run with the best guys before the big one in Beijing," said Powell, who set his eyes on the August 22-30 world championships in Beijing.

"All of us train to be at the top of the podium. You don't train to come second. My intention is to win gold and I will fight to the end," he added.

Lausanne Athletissima is just the second Diamond League meeting for Powell after walking out of the shades of a doping suspension.

He tested positive in 2013 and was banned last year by a Jamaican disciplinary panel, before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced it to six months.

Powell was the first Jamaican having seized the limelight as he lowered the 100m mark to 9.77 in 2005 and then 9.74 in 2007 before being eclipsed by Bolt.

The Jamaican was echoed by American Gay, a former world champion who was deprived all achievements since 2012 after tested positive for doping and banned for one year.

"Justin can be beaten anytime but we must admit that he has been running great this season," said the 33-year-old, who came out the sixth fastest man of this year after clocking 9.88 seconds at the end of May in the Eugene Diamond League meeting and improving it to 9.87 last month at the U.S. trials.

"I am happy to be racing these two guys," he said. "We were supposed to meet a few years ago in Stockholm, but it didn't work out. I'm looking forward to the race."

Gay explained that the welcome he received after suspension motivated him to accept the proposal of running against Powell and Gatlin in Lausanne.

"After the suspension I was welcomed back to the sport with open arms. I'm thankful for that. My fitness is better and I' m more relaxed, I think that is the difference this year.

"The suspension didn't scar me, I'm just sad I wasn't able to speak out to say it was a mistake and that I did not intentionally take prohibited substances," he said, referring to Powell's way of suing the supplement company for "putting a contaminated substance in the supplement".

"I am looking forward to racing tomorrow. More power to Justin and his fast times, we have all had our day at the top," Gay added.

Without Jamaican Usain Bolt though, the men's 100 meters sprint, which is not a Diamond Race event here, will definitely be a star-packed event, also featuring American duo Michael Rodgers and DionDre Batson, and Keston Bledman of Trinidad and Tobago, all of whom have a season best of 9.86 seconds.

Bolt, a six-time Olympic gold medalist and double world record holder who ran the 100m just once this year in Rio de Janeiro with a disappointing result, pulled out of the 200m race in the lakeside city a week ago as pre-caution of a leg injury.

Femi Ogunode, the Nigerian original before changing his nationality to Qatar, and Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis will also take the competition at the 14,000-packed Stade de la Pontaise.


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