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Powell and Gay set for showdown
World record holder Asafa Powell was fastest in the 100m quarter-finals in Osaka.
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2007 12:50 GMT
Asafa Powell, right, cruised into the semi-finals of the 100m at the world championships [GALLO/GETTY]
Asafa Powell, the 100m world record-holder from Jamaica, was again the fastest man after the second round of heats at the IAAF World Athletic Championships in Osaka, as he ran 10.01 seconds, five-tenths faster than US challenger Tyson Gay.
Gay, who has predicted Powell's 9.77 record will fall on the lightning Osaka track, said he was affected by Olympic silver medallist Francis Obikwelu's disqualification in the morning heats.

"Obikwelu getting out because of a false start this morning made me think too much at the start. So this is why I did not get out of the blocks well," Gay said.

"I know that if I want to beat Powell in the semi-final or in the final, my start will have to be much better. I will have to make some adjustments.

"The speed's there if I just execute my start I will be ready for tomorrow."

Powell described his night's work as 'good'.

"It was as I expected, nothing else," the world record holder said.

"All is going according to my plans."

Both men, who are yet to face each other, are undefeated this year, with Gay the man in form after setting a season-best 9.84 at the US championships in June.

Return to form

Tyson Gay, centre, is aiming for a 100m and
200m double in Osaka [GALLO/GETTY]

Powell has been affected by knee tendonitis and a groin injury but returned to form with a 9.90 last month in Rome, the second best time this year.

The Jamaican burst from the blocks in his evening quarter-final and led all the way before slowing up at the line, with the Bahamas' Derrick Atkins in hot pursuit.

Shortly after in the second heat, Gay took 30 metres to get in front after his slow start but won the race by a distance from Britain's Marlon Devonish (10.13).

Churandy Martina of the Dutch Antilles and Britain's Craig Pickering won heats three and four respectively, with another Britain, Mark Lewis-Francis, and Kim Collins from St Kitts and Nevis among the other qualifiers for Sunday's semi-finals.

Fast track

Earlier, Gay had raved about the Nagai Stadium surface after coasting through his opening heat in 10.19 seconds.

"It's the best track I've ever been on. I couldn't really run slow, it was kind of hard," he said.

"Words cannot describe the track. I tried to run 10.2 or 10.3 but the track wouldn't allow me to do it."

Gay is aiming to become only the third 100m-200m double world champion after compatriots Maurice Greene in 1999 and Justin Gatlin in 2005.

Source:
Agencies
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