Reigning World 100m and 200m champion Tyson Gay of the USA and former World 100m record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica will square off in the 100m at Rome’s Golden Gala, the third leg of the six meeting ÅF Golden League, on Friday, 10 July.
Both sprinters have opened their 2009 campaigns in sterling fashion, setting the stage for one of the most anticipated battles of the evening at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
On the comeback from injury which kept him out of last year’s Olympic final, Gay, also the reigning 200m World champion, has returned in impressive form. He opened his season with a jaw-dropping 19.58 dash in the 200m in New York on 30 May, and followed up with a wind-assisted (+3.4) 9.75 in the opening round of the 100m at the US championships in Eugene last weekend. His 200m performance in New York was the third fastest ever. Only World record holder Usain Bolt and former World record holder Michael Johnson have covered the half lap faster.
Powell has also exhibited sub-10 form this season, with his 9.97 runner-up finish to Bolt last weekend at the Jamaican championships. The former World record holder at 9.74, the 26-year-old improved his best to 9.72 in Lausanne last September.
The Golden Gala meeting record, shared by Powell and former Olympic and World champion Maurice Greene at 9.85, is clearly under threat.
The field also includes rising American star Michael Rodgers, who took the US title in Gay’s absence in Eugene with a wind-aided (+3.1) 9.91. On the same track 18 days earlier, Rodgers improved his career best to 9.94. The 24-year-old will arrive in the Italian capital on a tear, with victories in six of his last seven finals, including New York, the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Fortaleza, Río de Janeiro and Uberlândia.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF