Showdown in Lausanne
Sprinter Asafa Powell certainly knows how to talk the talk these days and, with a showdown with top dog Justin Gatlin and fellow American Tyson Gay highlighting today's IAAF Diamond League stop in Lausanne, the Jamaican star is backing himself to walk the walk - or well; run the run in the Swiss city.
Powell, the one-time world record holder over 100m, is confident that he can beat his two rivals when they come together today inside the Stade Olympique de la Pontaise - the same track where he ran his personal-best 9.72 in 2008 - a time that he thinks he can possibly threaten here.
"I don't know who you guys think he (Gatlin) is. He is like the fifth-fastest man in the world so I don't know why you think he can't be beaten," said Powell, the fourth-fastest man in history, when quizzed about his chances of beating Gatlin, who has gone 27 races, inclusive of nineteen 100m starts, without defeat.
Doing well so far
"I have been running quite well this season and running very fast so, for tomorrow, I expect to run fast just the same," added Powell, who shared the stage with Gay in the absence of Gatlin, who was scheduled to arrive in Lausanne yesterday evening after competing in Hungary a day earlier.
"This is what people pay to see. Over the years, they always see us compete at the World Championships together but not on the circuit, so it's good to have a few runs before the big one," added Powell.
"Anything is possible like I said. I want to surprise myself here. I always seem to do that at this meet, always running season's bests and so on. So I expect no different tomorrow," added Powell, who is yet to lose a race this season.
Gay, who posted a 9.87 clocking in his last race, is also looking forward to the contest, but noted that winning here isn't the most important thing to him.
"I've had a pretty good season so far, so I am just looking forward to going out there and competing against the best guys in the world," Gay said. "Coming off the US trials, I haven't done much training so I'm just hopeful these guys will pull me to a good time."
All eight sprinters in the men's 100m have gone below 10 seconds already this season and considering that two of the four fastest times in history were recorded here, things could get really interesting today.
In the women's 400m, Novlene Williams-Mills steps back on the track after skipping the national trials and stopping in her last race in New York. Williams-Mills will come up against Jamaica-born American quarter-miler Sanya Richards-Ross, Natasha Hastings and Bahamian Shaunae Miller. She will be looking to go below 51 seconds for the first time in what has been a troubled season for last year's Diamond race winner.
National champion Nickel Ashmeade and the Jamaican-based Great Britain sprinter, Zharnel Hughes, will go up against Panamanian Alonso Edwards in the 200m with Isiah Young (USA) and Churandy Martina (Netherlands) also expected to have a say.
An interesting contest is expected in the men's triple jump where world leader Pedro Pablo Pichardo (18.08m) will face the reigning Olympic champion Christian Taylor, while Allyson Felix may use her 200m run to help her decide whether to focus on the half lap event or the 400m at the World Championships with Murielle Ahoure, Blessing Okagbare and Dafne Schippers all eager to take her scalp.
Women's 400m (1:03 p.m.)
Men's 200m (1:26 p.m.)
Men's 100m (2:17 p.m.)