The men’s 100m will take the spotlight at today’s Weltklasse Zurich IAAF Diamond League meeting. However, despite the presence of freshly minted Commonwealth Games (CWG) champion, Kemar Bailey-Cole, it’s the Asafa Powell vs Tyson Gay sub-plot that will have most people’s interests, as several Jamaicans look for Diamond success.
Nickel Ashmeade will be hunting his third-straight Diamond race triumph, when he faces the starter in a tough 200m showdown after taking the same title in 2012 and the 100m title a year ago; while Kerron Stewart is just a few strides away from her first hold on the lucrative prize, as the curtains also come down on the women’s 100m competition.
Powell and Gay, two of the four fastest men in history, will face each other for the first time since returning from suspensions related to doping violations. Powell tested positive for a banned stimulant and Gay did the same for an anabolic steroid.
former world record holder
A former holder of the 100m world record, Powell returned to competition a few weeks ago after being cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the stimulant Oxilofrine was found in his system at the National Championships last year. The sprinter has raced sparingly since his return from a suspension in June when CAS cut an 18-month ban to six months. The Jamaican will not be short on confidence after running 9.87 in a low-profile meet last weekend.
The United States’ Gay, on the other hand, was controversially handed a one-year ban for his offence and will be looking to improve on his 9.93 and 10.04 seconds marks in two races since his return.
Another Jamaican, Nesta Carter, who has gone 9.96 this year, will also line up in what is a stacked field, with the dangerous, but inconsistent Trinidadian Richard Thompson and American Mike Rodgers looking to steal the headlines.
The women’s 100m is no less exciting with the double sprint champion from Glasgow and African champion Blessing Okagbare looking to heap pressure on Kerron Stewart, bronze medal winner in Glasgow and silver medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown, along with Allyson Felix, Dafne Schippers and Murielle Ahoure.
Stewart leads with a distant seven points ahead of Ahoure on three, with Campbell-Brown and Okagbare on two each.
Ashmeade (14 points) took control of the men’s 200m after beating Alonso Edwards by his nose in Birmingham, to give himself a three-point breathing room going into today’s finale.