22 June 2010
The fastest man in the world in 2010, Asafa Powell, and the former three-time World Champion, Tyson Gay, will meet for the first time this year in a double UK showdown at the Aviva British Grand Prix on July 10 and Aviva London Grand Prix August 13-14, with Powell targeting the World Record.
Although Gay and Powell have not raced against each other in the 100m since September last year, Gay currently edges the Jamaican in their head-to-heads with three wins in a row, taking him to 8-7.
However in 2010, Powell, the former world 100m record holder has already spoken of his desire to take the record back from his fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt and so far the signs are positive.
Early form in his opening races this year easily suggest that Powell could improve on his performance from four years ago at the Gateshead International Stadium, when he set the first 100m World Record in this country by equalling the 9.77 mark.
The 27-year-old said: “I’m looking forward to getting to the Aviva British Grand Prix – I know that I have a pretty serious race lined up with Gay competing as well and I’ll be going all out to make sure that I get a faster time.
“Myself and Tyson are clearly the two that are going after the world record but I truly believe that it’s mine to lose at the moment, Tyson has not been competing that much this year and I know he’s been injured so I’m looking to take advantage of that. I’m feeling good and am on form so I’m confident that I’ll place first in this race – I’m certainly aiming for that.”
Gay, who has switched his competing discipline at the Aviva British Grand Prix from the 200m to the 100m, is yet to make his debut in the Samsung Diamond League series but spoke of his race against his rival next month.
He said: “I’ve switched to the 100m at Gateshead and I’m looking forward to it – it’s looking like it will be my first head to head of the Diamond League and a really competitive race is exactly what I want at the moment. This season we have both been running extremely fast so far, but I’m still hoping to come away with the first win.
“Records have been broken before at Gateshead, so I know it’s a quick track. If the conditions are right and Asafa and I are both on form, then I expect we will see one of the fastest times of the year.”
Gay and Powell have never raced against each other on British soil before but the Aviva London Grand Prix, held in August, will offer both men a second chance for bragging rights when they face off at Crystal Palace.
Powell, who has already run the two fastest times of the year, is particularly keen to be welcomed by the strong Jamaican contingent in London, a trait which has many of the Jamaican athletes referring to the capital as home from home.
He said: “Running in London is a fantastic experience and I’m looking forward to getting to the Aviva London Grand Prix. The 100m is going to be a great race, I know that Tyson is racing again and I see that as a huge positive, someone that is going to push me harder for a faster time.
“There is a fantastic Jamaican crowd that come out to support all of their athletes each year in London and I know they’ll be there again this time to bring their party atmosphere to the Palace – this will definitely give me a push, hopefully enough to do something pretty spectacular, which I’m definitely aiming for against Tyson.
“This year has been good for me so far and I’m hoping that it stays that way – I had a great start in the Diamond League in Doha and Rome and I’m hoping that the rest of the league goes as well. A new world record would be pretty great as well.”
Gay who competed over 200m at Crystal Palace in 2009, but hasn't contested the 100m in the capital since 2007, where he cruised to an easy victory in 10.02secs, has already speculated this year that he is after a world record breaking time of 9.50s.
He said: “Racing against Asafa in London and Gateshead will mean that we are pushing each other to run faster and get closer to that 9.50s that I see as a real possibility and something that I’m aiming for.
“I love competing in London especially as it’s going to be the Olympics there in two years time – I want to soak up that atmosphere early.”
Tickets for the Aviva British Grand Prix at the Gateshead International Stadium on July 10 and for the Aviva London Grand Prix at the Crystal Palace on August 13 and 14 are available by phone on 08000 556 056 or online at www.uka.org.uk