Bolt versus Powell
Asafa Powell has won five National Championships titles in the 100 metres. If he is to get number six in the event at this week's nationals, he will have to beat none other than the best sprinter of all time, Usain Bolt.
Preliminary entry lists indicate that Bolt, the reigning World 100 and 200 metres champion, will run the shorter event in search of the sharpness that has eluded him so far this season.
As a holder of the IAAF wild card, Bolt is already certain to be in Beijing for this August's World Championships. All defending champions are afforded this right but Bolt will using the nationals to get some races under his belt.
While Powell has the fastest 100m time by a Jamaican this year at 9.84 seconds, Bolt's only 100m race this season was timed at 10.12. By contrast, Powell has won several low-key races since his fast victory over American Ryan Bailey at the Jamaica Invitational.
Powell and Nesta Carter are the only Jamaicans to have broken 10 seconds this season with the 2013 Worlds third-place finisher (Carter) at 9.98.
Fast-starting Inter-collegiate champion Andrew Fisher of the University of Technology, US-based Senoj-Jay Givans, reigning national champion Nickel Ashmeade and Fisher's UTech teammate, Julian Forte, are next on the clock at 10.01, 10.03, 10.04 and 10.06, respectively. Others to watch include Commonwealth champion Kemar Bailey-Cole, who is fighting off the ill effects of chikungunya, and 2011 World champion Yohan Blake, who has just started his return from injury and surgery.
Powell is one of just four men, along with Blake, Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin, to have beaten Bolt in the 100m since the tall Trelawny native began campaigning in the event in 2008. Moreover, Bolt has finished ahead of Powell whenever they have raced at the nationals. This covers victories in 2008, 2009 and 2013. Blake beat them both in 2012, when he was in cracking form and Bolt and Powell weren't quite at full pitch.
Blake is entered for the 100 and 200 metres.
Bolt has run four individual races this season, with three over the 200-metre distance. He called the last one, a victory in New York on June 13, the worst race of his career. The Glen Mills-coached superstar completed that one in 20.29 seconds with the hindrance of a stiff headwind.
Powell last won the national 100 metres title in 2011.