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Gatlin pulls plug on showdown

14 July 2006

By Robert Falkoff

The on-again, off-again showdown between 100 meter sprint kings Justin Gatlin and Asafa Powell is off again.

On Friday, Gatlin pulled the plug on a tentative meeting again Powell in two weeks, withdrawing from the London Grand Prix because of a leg injury which he suffered at last month's U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis. Powell has continued to run on the European circuit despite a tender groin and is scheduled to compete on July 28 at Crystal Palace.

Fast Track, the organizers of the London event, had been working with the respective agents for Powell and Gatlin to arrange their first 100 meter showdown since Gatlin tied Powell's world record of 9.77 in May and Powell came back with his second 9.77 at Gateshead, England in June.

"Justin's injury is more serious than first realized," Fast Track spokesman Steve Chisholm told the Associated Press.

Gatlin's injury has been described by agent Renaldo Nehemiah as a badly inflamed tendon behind the right knee. Nehemiah has said that injury can result in sprinters because of overuse. London organizers have said Gatlin will be out until August which provides more time for anticipation to build for a Gatlin-Powell matchup. With no World Championships or Olympics on the immediate horizon, the agents can be deliberate in negotiating for a date and site that would bring the sprinters a top payoff.

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