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Gay v Dix 100m clash tops star-studded London – PREVIEW – Samsung Diamond League

12 August 2010 - London, UK – Just a week after his decisive victory over Usain Bolt, man of the moment Tyson Gay will be the star attraction at Crystal Palace on Friday when the US sprinter returns to Britain for a 100m clash with Walter Dix at the Aviva London Grand Prix on Friday and Saturday (13-14), the 12th Samsung Diamond League meeting.

Gay came from behind to beat Asafa Powell in Gateshead a month ago and after running 9.84 to hand Bolt his first defeat for two years in Stockholm last Friday, the former World champion was scheduled for a re-match with Powell here. But the Jamaican has withdrawn with the same back and hamstring injury that kept him out of the DN Galan last week.

Gay has been in great form since his early season injury problems and will be confident of another victory when he meets his US team-mate in the dash.

The American has won both his 100m contests on the Diamond League circuit, beating the current and former World record holders, while he also had a commanding victory over 200m in Monaco three weeks ago.

But Dix, the Olympic bronze medallist, beat him over 200m in Eugene back in early July, and is clearly in top shape for the 100m too as he ran 9.88, a personal best, at the Spitzen Leichathletik last weekend.

Dix tops the Diamond Race for the longer sprint with four victories and a 19.72 season’s best, matched by Gay in Monaco. Powell heads the 100m standings and shares the world leading time of 9.82 with Bolt. In his absence it will be his compatriot Yohan Blake, Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Churandy Martina from Netherlands Antilles who’ll provide the main opposition to the American duo.

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Hot fields across the board

Dix is one of six athletes with four Diamond League wins so far – the others being hurdler David Oliver, pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, Andreas Thorkildsen in the Javelin Throw, Carmelita Jeter in 100m and Nadzeya Ostapchuk in the Shot Put, while US shot man Christian Cantwell and high jumper Blanka Vlasic have five wins a-piece and are the only competitors left who can take all seven victories.

All of them compete in London, as does Allyson Felix who also has four wins although she has spread her efforts over 200m and 400m with two victories from each event. Indeed, the triple World champion could be the first athlete to take double points at a Diamond League meeting when she contests both races this weekend.

Friday action on the track...

Felix goes in the shorter sprint on Friday evening when she’ll face fellow American Bianca Knight, Jamaicans Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart, and the new European silver medallist Elizaveta Bryzhina of Ukraine.

Friday’s track action also includes the women’s 100m hurdles in which Australia’s Sally Pearson, fresh from her startling win in Stockholm, takes on Lolo Jones, Perdita Felicien, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Queen Harrison, plus the men’s 400m hurdles featuring world leader Bershawn Jackson against Britain’s European medallists David Greene and Rhys Williams.

Mo Farah, another of Britain’s Barcelona heroes, goes in the 3000m against Bernard Lagat, plus Kenyans Mark Kiptoo and Micah Kogo, and Australian Craig Mottram, while an all-star women’s 5000m features the best of Ethiopia in Meseret Defar, Tirunesh Dibaba and Sentayehu Ejigu against the cream of Kenya in world champions Vivian Cheruiyot, Linet Masai and Mercy Cherono.

The world’s top two, Brimin Kipruto and Paul Koech, go head to head in the 3000m Steeplechase, while Abubaker Kaki returns to action in the 800m following his mishap with a dislodged racing shoe last week. The Sudanese half miler will hope to make it to the finish line this time against Poland’s European champion Marcin Lewandowski and silver medallist Michael Rimmer, plus the in-form US pair of Nick Symmonds and Andrew Wheating.

The women’s 1500m is similarly loaded with world leader Anna Alminova of Russia against Olympic champion Nancy Langat, Maryam Jamal of Bahrain, American Shannon Rowbury, and Britain’s world silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey.

.. and Friday on the infield

Cantwell and Vlasic will be headline acts in the field with Cantwell looking to extend his 2010 unbeaten run to 19 (indoors and out) and his overall win-streak to 21 – his last defeat being to Poland’s Tomas Majewski in Dubnica last September.

Majewski will be among his opponents again, along with fellow Americans Reese Hoffa, Adam Nelson and Cory Martin, plus Canadian Dylan Armstrong. Cantwell may not be satisfied with just another win though – he has his own targets to reach for 22m throws having exceeded that distance in three meetings so far.

A seemingly rejuvenated Vlasic resumes her never-ending battle with Chaunte Lowe in the High Jump having lost to the American only twice this year, while Emma Green hopes to recapture her Barcelona form after a disappointing competition on home soil in Stockholm.

The men’s Triple Jump will doubtless attract much attention too, with hometown favourite Phillips Idowu leaping against Teddy Tamgho, Christian Olsson and Alexis Copello.

World leader and European champion Lavillennie faces the World and Olympic champion Steve Hooker in the Pole Vault, while world record holder Barbora Spotakova comes up against the German pair who beat her in Barcelona, Linda Stahl and Christina Obergföll, in the women’s javelin.

The women’s discus gets the meeting underway with Cuba’s Yarelis Barrios against the world leader Nadine Müller of Germany, Romania’s European silver medallist Nicoleta Grasu and USA’s Becky Breisch.

Saturday on the track..

Felix is back in her blocks on Saturday for a tough 400m clash with Debbie Dunn and Tatyana Firova, two of the three women who have broken 50 seconds this year, plus the Jamaicans Shericka Williams and Novlene Williams-Mills, and Botswana’s Amantle Montsho. Firova won in Stockholm last week, and the Russian is riding high after taking European gold the week before, but Felix is two-out-of-two over one lap this year.

Jeter returns to action for the first time since her brilliant 100m win over Veronica Campbell-Brown in Monaco three weeks ago. With only one defeat this season Jeter will be looking for her fifth DL win against a 100m field that includes Jamaicans Sherone Simpson and Aleen Bailey, fellow American Marshevet Myers, Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Trinidad and Germany’s new European champion Verena Sailor.

Oliver also races for the first time since Monaco and the giant sprint hurdler will be looking to get back under 13 seconds after his disappointing performance in the Herculis meeting.

Oliver’s main challenge is likely to come from US compatriots Ryan Wilson and Ronnie Ash, but Britain’s new European champion Andy Turner will want to impress in front of his home crowd and the Czech hurdler Petr Svoboda has a point to prove after he messed up in the Barcelona final.

The men’s 400m is equally compelling with four of the Barcelona finallists – champion Kevin Borlée, silver and bronze medallists Michael Bingham and Martyn Rooney, and Ireland’s David Gillick – facing Jeremy Wariner and Jamaican record breaker Jermaine Gonzales who heads the world with his 44.40 from Monaco.

Other highlights of the second day’s track programme include the women’s 800m in which Alysia Johnson takes on the woman she displaced as world leader, European champion Mariya Savinova, plus former World champion Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya, Barcelona silver and bronze medallists Yvonne Hak and Jenny Meadows, and Meadows’ compatriots Jemma Simpson and Dobriskey.

European Steeplechase champion Yuliya Zarudneva looks for another win over world leader Milcah Chemos after her victory in Stockholm while Gladys Kipkemboi, Lydia Rotich and Hattie Dean will be among the chasers.

Another of Russia’s European champions, Natalya Antyukh, heads the women’s 400m hurdles line-up with Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica leading the opposition.

The men’s 200m pitches Wallace Spearmon against Xavier Carter, with Martina, Jaysuma Ndure and Christian Malcolm also in the line-up.

.. and Saturday on the infield

Saturday’s field events feature both Thorkildsen and Ostapchuk as Norway’s javelin star looks to get back on top after his rare defeat to Finnish rival Tero Pitkämäki last week. Matthias De Zordo of Germany, Finn Teemu Wirkkala and Guillermo Martinez of Cuba will also be throwing.

Ostapchuk remains undefeated in 2010 and few would bet against her chalking up win number eight in the current outdoor season against Valerie Vili and Natalya Mikhenevich.

Pole vaulter Svetlana Feofanova will also be looking to continue her winning streak after beating Fabiana Murer and the rest in Stockholm. The Brazilian will be among the European champion’s opponents again in London, as will Yuliya Golubchikova.

Dwight Phillips will be looking to restore his world number one status in the men’s long jump against Australia’s Fabrice Lapierre and Britain’s Chris Tomlinson, while Yargelis Savigne heads a women’s triple jump line-up that includes Ukraine’s European champion Olha Saladuha, Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan and Russian Anna Patykh.

The men’s High Jump is another high quality affair with European medallists Alex Shustov, Ivan Ukhov and Martyn Bernard all in action against America’s top jumper Dusty Jonas and former World champion Donald Thomas of Bahamas.

The men’s discus kicks off Saturday’s programme at 12:40 local time, with Poland’s European champion Piotr Malachowski facing many of his Barcelona rivals including world leader Gerd Kanter, Zoltán Kövágó of Hungary and the great Lithuanian Vigiliujus Alekna.

The meeting ends some four hours later with the traditional one mile event featuring many of the runners who produced such a wonderful 1500m in Monaco. The line-up includes the Monaco sensation Silas Kiplagat, plus fellow Kenyans Augustine Choge and Gideon Githimba, Ethiopia’s Mekonnen Gebremehdin, Amine Laalou of Morocco, USA’s Lopez Lomong, Australian Ryan Gregson, and the British pair Andrew Baddeley and Tom Lancashire.

Matthew Brown for the Samsung Diamond League