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Bolt leads battle of three speed kings

5 September 2008

Olympic champion and world record holder Usain Bolt takes on world champion Tyson Gay and Jamaican compatriot Asafa Powell in a mouth-watering, first-ever 100 metres clash here on Friday.

Bolt, who stunned the Beijing Olympics with gold medals and world records in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, faces his two rivals who have plenty to prove at the Golden League meeting.

America's Gay, struggling with a hamstring injury, failed to qualify for the 100m final in China while Powell, the former world record holder, was a disappointing fifth in Beijing.

However, he illustrated he was still a sprinting force by running 9.72sec at Lausanne on Tuesday, just 0.03sec outside the world mark that Bolt set at the Games on August 16.

"It's not a problem for me, it will make the race more exciting. I can only say I will do my best on Friday," said Bolt as he reflected on Powell's blistering time in Switzerland.

"After Brussels I want to go back home. I haven't been back to Jamaica since the Games and I'm in a hurry."

Since Beijing, Bolt has shown no sign of slacking, running 9.83sec in Zurich and 19.63sec for the 200m in Lausanne.

Gay said he is "looking forward to it (Friday's race)" but "I'm not at 100 percent yet".

The American, who picked up his injury in the 200m at the US Olympic trials in June, had a victorious outing on Sunday at 200m winning in a rainy Gateshead in 20.26sec.

Bolt has only ever once met Gay over 100m, the Jamaican beginning his current period of ascendancy with a 9.72sec world record in New York in May, ahead of Gay, who ran 9.85sec.

At 200m, the balance remains in Gay's favour, the world champion having headed the Beijing winner in six of their eight meetings at the longer sprint.

Bolt, a newcomer to the 100m this season, has met the former world record holder Powell on just three occasions in their careers.

He has 2-1 record, with Powell having taken a narrow victory in Stockholm just prior to Beijing.

Powell leads Gay over 100m by 5-1 - his sole defeat coming in the 2007 world championships final.

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