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World will have to wait for showdown

16 June 2006

By John Crumpacker In another example of the sport undermining its own best interests, Justin Gatlin and Asafa Powell did not meet for a 100-meter showdown in Gateshead, England, on Sunday.

They were supposed to line up and race but Gatlin's agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, pulled his client out of the meet and said there never was an agreement for a head-to-head meeting.

Phooey to that.

Nehemiah did Gatlin, and the sport, a disservice by not having him race Powell. In a "take that!" gesture, Powell again equaled the world record at Gateshead that he shares with Gatlin at 9.77 seconds.

"That's how you run a world record,'' Powell said. "I told them (meet organizers) I would do my best, and that was my best.''

It would have been nice to see both men at their best in that race, lined up next to each other. The outcome might have led to a single man holding the world record, and it could have been Gatlin considering he has run times of 9.95, 9.85, 9.77, 9.88 and 9.87 this season.

As it is now, the two are scheduled to race each other in late July in London. By the smallest of margins, Gatlin might be the faster of the two. He initially was credited with a 9.76 time in Doha, Qatar, that was later amended to 9.77 and he ran faster than Powell when the two lined up in separate heats of the 100 at the Prefontaine Classic last month.

Gatlin clocked 9.88 to Powell's 9.93. Let's get these two together.

Though the Jamaican Powell deserves full marks for tying the world record again, Gatlin - and the man responsible for pulling him out of the Gateshead meet - is left to wonder what might have been.

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