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Powell and Gatlin to run different 100m races at Prefontaine Classic

21 May 2006

By Gary Smith

Joint 100 metres world record holders Asafa Powell and his archival rival Justin Gatlin will race in separate short sprint races at the Prefontaine Classic scheduled for May 28 in Eugene, Oregon, organisers confirmed on Wednesday.

Build up towards Gateshead

According to the meet organiser, Tom Jordan, both sprinters have been placed in different races so as to "whet" the appetite of the long awaiting show-down between them at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix in Gateshead, London on June 11.

"There will be two sections of the 100 metres," Jordan confirmed on Wednesday. "We wanted both Justin Gatlin and Asafa Powell in the Prefontaine Classic and with their big race coming up in Gateshead, it was not possible to get them in the same race."

Caribbean Net News has learnt the both sprinters were not able to race against each other at the meeting because of their high fee obligations to the British meet next month, so the promoters are using Classic to stimulate the build up of their head-to-head clash in Gateshead.

"We wanted to whet the appetite of track and field fans around the world by having them both run 100 metres," Jordon said.

"This should certainly pique the interest of fans around the world, as they will get to see the two fastest men on the planet in consecutive races, under similar conditions. It should be very entertaining for our worldwide television audience."

The announcement of the two races at the IAAF Grand Prix event came less than 24 hours after Gatlin was stripped of being the event's outright record holder after he initially credited with a 9.76 run, which clipped Powell's mark by one hundredth of a season. The IAAF, however, downgraded the mark to 9.77.

Fun times for the fans

Meanwhile Powell's agent Paul Doyle said having both world record holders competing at the meeting was good for the supporting fans, while adding that it doesn't matter which of them ran first.

"I just think it's great," Doyle told news agency Reuters. "Fans will get to see them both run, and it will prolong the suspense of when they do race against each other."

Gatlin was scheduled to run the 100m at the one day finals event, while Powell was originally scheduled for the 200 before the hasty arrangement.

In the meantime, the 24-year-old Gatlin expressed disappointment after he was stripped of his world record, but remain confident that he's the world's fastest man.

"It is very disappointing to me that it has taken five days to determine the official time of a race with this significance," the American World and Olympic champion said.

"I remain confident that I am the World's Fastest Man and I look forward to proving it once again. My parents raised me to be a good sport but I don't want to share the World Record."

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