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Gay & Mullings set for 100m clash in New York - PREVIEW

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Gay & Mullings set for 100m clash in New York - PREVIEW 60234_FULL-LND
Steve Mullings, 9.80 in Eugene (Kirby Lee)

Gay and Mullings set for standout 100m clash in New York – PREVIEW – Samsung Diamond League

David Martin for the IAAF
IAAF Website
Friday, 10 June 2011

10 June 2011 – New York, USA - Tyson Gay's 100 metres clash with training partner Steve Mullings who has been an early season revelation will be the standout head-to-head at the adidas Grand Prix on Saturday (11), the sixth stop on the 2011 Samsung Diamond League global international track and field tour.

The world's two fastest men this year, with Gay on his seasonal debut making his quickest ever start to a summer's campaign with a stunning 9.79 seconds victory in Clermont, Florida, last Saturday, and Mulling's just 0.01sec slower with a stunning victory at Eugene's Prefontaine Classic the same day, could rewrite the New York meet record.

That belongs to Usain Bolt who prior to his 2008 Olympic 100m and 200m victories ran a blistering 9.72 in Icahn Stadium, the first of his three World records, to blow away the challenge of Gay despite himself finishing in a superfast 9.85.

It is a formidable target for both Gay and Mullings to set their sights on but in a loaded field including Trinidad's Olympic silver medallist and defending champion Richard Thompson (9.89w) and another seven sub-10 contestants, it could be on the cards.

There will be no room for complacency for the two favourites with Mullings’ fellow Jamaican's Nesta Carter, who along with Gay was the fastest man in the world last year at 9.78, and the newly emerging Keston Bledman of Trinidad and Jamaica's Nickel Ashmeade who both posted personal bests of 9.93 and 9.96 at the Clermont meet.

Gay, who only ran in the heats in Clermont, said on Thursday: "Basically I just wanted to see where I was at, so me and my training partners used it as a prep step."

Dismissing speculation he could challenge Bolt's USA All-Comers' record, the 28-year-old former World champion added: "I didn't even know what the meet record was, I'm not thinking about no record, I'm not thinking about no times."

The US record holder still suffering with a niggle in his right hip and with a long hard summer ahead of him, insisted: I want to think about being more patient and trying having more confidence in my start."

But if conditions are good and the forecast rain steers clear of Randall's Island there could at least be another world leader from whoever wins and the possibility of the race producing more than the six placed sprinters who got under 10sec in Eugene last Saturday.

Mullings, with four sub-10 marks to his itinerary and now the world's sixth fastest performer of all time, didn't expect to produce his blistering showpiece at Hayward Field but is now hungry for more success.

"It was great," he said of the victory. "I've been training really hard this year. I expected to get in the 80s, but I didn't expect to go 9.8. It was a great feeling."

Now in an arena where a huge number of Jamaican fans will be coming to cheer him along he will have the perfect opportunity to raise more eyebrows even possibly those of Bolt, before the IAAF World Championships get underway in August.

Felix looking to bounce back but strong Jamaican interest in 200m field
Allyson Felix lost the most competitive and fastest 200m race of 2010 in New York (21.98) when in a nail-biting finish she was narrowly beaten across the line by Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.

The Jamaican may not be around on this occasion but her fellow countrywomen Shelly-Ann Fraser, the Olympic and World 100m title holder, and Sherone Simpson, joint second on that occasion, will prove more than able opponents.

Carmelita Jeter will also present a threat after her amazing Eugene 100m win in 10.70 but Felix will be determined to pick up the threads after finishing fourth in the Rome 200m albeit just 45 minutes after winning the 400m.

Bianca Knight who holds the world junior best and triumphed there will be thirsting for another success.

Sinclair steps up to 1500m
Another Jamaican, Kenia Sinclair, who took a high profile victory in the Eugene 800m, steps up in distance to 1500m and obviously will be hoping for a slow race so she can use her finishing speed.

But with Gelete Burka, who scalped world leader Maryam Jamal at the Oregon meet on a high at the moment, and another top notch Ethiopian Kalkidan Gezahegne in the field that looks unlikely.

Anna Pierce and Shannon Rowbury lead the home challenge and one of them could snatch third.

Van Zyl and Chemos looking to extend Diamond League winning streaks
L.J Van Zyl, still continuing the momentum after breaking the South African 400m Hurdles record with a time of 47.66, will be looking for a third successive Diamond League success after his victories in Doha and Rome.

The three-time African champion is now talking about a sub-47 clocking being in his itinerary although winning the World Championships gold medal in Daegu is the major target.

The 25-year-old again faces European champion Dai Greene of Great Britain the runner up in Rome although he may feel more wary of Olympic bronze medallist and 2010 Diamond Race winner Bershawn Jackson who will be eager to improve on his second place on the Icahn track last June.

Kenya's Milcah Chemos, despite only taking up the 3000m Steeplechase just over two years ago, is now a seasoned hand at the event and should add to her Doha and Rome successes where at the latter venue she set a world lead of 9:12.89.

Sofia Assefa, who set an Ethiopian record of 9:15.04 in the Italian capital behind her, competes but more importantly so too does World record holder Gulnara Samitova-Galkina for the first time since finishing fourth, a place behind Chemos, at the 2009 World Championships.

Wariner intends getting back to winning ways after Eugene defeat
Former Olympic 400m champion Jeremy Wariner, his preparations for summer put on hold by an early season injury, admitted he was a little disappointed to have lost to 400m Hurdles specialst Angelo Taylor in Eugene.

Now he is determined after the setback and the defence of his Diamond Race title to make amends and apart from a win hasn't ruled out attacking Grenada's Rondell Bartholomew's world lead of 44.65.

"I feel good, better than last week,” said Wariner. "My legs are fresh and I hope I can go under 44. I still think that I can get back down in the low 43s and execute better than I have in the last few years."

Belgium's European champion Kevin Borlee will continue his education at Samsung Diamond League level while "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius last in the "Pre" is delighted he has been given another opportunity to race on the circuit.

Can Mulaudzi thwart Kaki in 800?
Reigning World 800m champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi has a great opportunity to lay down a firm marker before defending his title in Daegu when clashing with Abubaker Kaki.

The 21-year-old Sudanese ace ran away from the field in Eugene producing a very easy looking world lead of 1:43.68, a long way clear of Rome winner Khadevis Robinson who beat Mulaudzi on that occasion.

It would be a surprise if Kaki was denied victory but Mulaudzi, getting used to being away from South Africa, will be hoping to defend his New York title.

Meanwhile the 5000m is wide open with 15 Africans listed to compete but not Rome winner Imane Merga who made an exhausting 10,000m debut behind Mo Farah in Eugene. Another Ethiopia verus Kenya battle with 10 sub 13-second runners taking part is on the cards.

But don't rule out former World title holder Bernard Lagat who insists by the time World Championships come around he will be in shape to run under 12:50. He may need that if he is thwart his former compatriots on Saturday and score a home win.

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