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Jones and Simpson at it again

12 July 2006

By Gary Smith

Jamaica's 100-metre world leader Sherone Simpson, the Commonwealth Games 200m champion, will seek revenge against American multi Olympic champion Marion Jones when they go head-to-head for the second time in four days at Tuesday’s Athletissima Super Grand Prix in Lausanne, Switzerland, a meet that has attracted twenty World and Olympic champions.

Another anticipated clash

After a solid start in the dash at the Meeting Gaz de France Paris Saint-Denis in France on Saturday, Simpson, who is also the world leader over 200m this season, was caught 30m before the finish line by Jones, but still managed to clock a quick 10.98.

Jones, who also defeated another Jamaican, Veronica Campbell earlier this season, won the race in 10.92 and will be a handful for the entire field as she keeps getting faster with every race.

World champion Lawryn Williams, World Indoor 60m champion Melisa Barber, Torri Edwards, an ex-World outdoor champion, all of whom are Americans and the Bahamas' Debbie Ferguson McKenzie are the other main competitors in line to make a challenge for the crown.

Olympic 200m champion Campbell was not listed among the starters, which means there will not be an early return for the Jamaican.

Gatlin out, still no word from Powell

The men's race has lost the services of American World and Olympic champion Justin Gatlin, who is a co-holder of the world record due to an injury.

In the meantime, the organisers are desperately trying to get the other co-world record holder, Asafa Powell, to fill the gap, but with his participation at the meeting still uncertain, the race is up for grabs.

Leading the pack are several islanders, including Powell's training partner and World silver medallist Michael Frater of Jamaica, Trinidadian Marc Burns, Netherlands Antilles' Churandy Martina, Olympic 200m champion Shawn Crawford and fellow American Jason Smoots, who is also in great form this season.

Nigeria's new African record holder Olusoji Fasuba, who has a career and season best of 9.85, World indoor 60m champion Leonard Scott of USA, Trinidadian World Junior record holder Darrel Brown and Jamaica's Dwight Thomas, who won the B-race in Paris on the weekend are also sprinters to look out for.

Perhaps the half-lap clash of the season

The men's 200m is expected to produce something special this season as it boasts perhaps the strongest line up track and field audiences will witness this season.

Heading the list of competitors are World silver medallist and joint world leader Wallace Spearmon (19.90) of USA and Jamaica's World junior record holder Usain Bolt. Joining them in the talent-packed line-up is American Tyson Gay, who sits just behind Wallace and slightly ahead of Bolt in the world rankings.

Two other Americans, Lashawn Merrit and four-time NCAA champion Xavier Carter, as well as Portugal's Olympic 100m silver medallist Francis Obikwelu are the other top runners down to face the starter's gun.

Smith looking to improve

Jamaica's World champion Trecia Smith, still searching for her best form this season, will try to improve on her season's best of 14.74m when she competes in the women's Triple Jump competition. The Jamaican will once again clash with Russian world leader Tatyana Lebedeva, who has been unstoppable this season, in addition to Cuban Yargelis Savigne and Russia's Anna Pyatykh, two of the best this season.

Gonzales favoured for the quarter - Calatayud hoping for the 800m

Jamaican quarter miler Jermaine Gonzales and former Jamaican representative Brandon Simpson head the list of competitors for the 400m title.

Gonzales has a seasonal best of 44.90, while Simpson, who now competes for Brunei, holds a year best of 45.03. Expected also to be in the mix is Nigerian James Godday, with his year best of 44.99.

Cuban World champion Zulia Calatayud and Jamaican Kenia Sinclair will battle with World and Olympic silver medallist Hasna Benhassi from Morocco, Commonwealth champion Jepkosgei of Kenyan and Svetlana Cherkasova from Russia in the women's 800m.

Other regional athletes scheduled to be on display are Cuban Javelin thrower Osleidys Menendez, the World and Olympic champion and World record holder in the event, Commonwealth Games champion Brigitte Foster- Hylton in the 100m hurdles, Olympic silver medallist Danny McFarlane in the men's 400m hurdles and Cuban teenage sensation Dayron Robles in the men's 110m hurdles.

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