By Gary Smith, World-Track
BERLIN — Former World record holder Asafa Powell will test the fitness level of the reigning world champion Tyson Gay when the pair clash in semi-finals two of the men’s 100 metres at the World Championships in Berlin on Sunday.
The pair were the only two sprinters below the 10-seconds barrier in the first two rounds on Saturday, with Powell rushing to 9.95secs to easily claim his quarter-finals and Gay throwing down 9.98secs to take his section.
Both speedsters have already met twice this year with Gay coming out on top on both occasion.
Even though it is only a semi-final the tempo is expected to pick up, especially with Powell fully recovered from an ankle injury that sidelined his preparation for weeks. Gay said he is carrying a groin problem, but believes it shouldn’t trouble him, something left to be seen, especially after running two rounds already on it.
The American is a champion, however, and if he is fit he will fight to the end to defend his titles.
He is destined to run fast though, as the race will also include three other sprinters with lifetime bests faster than 10-seconds.
This includes Dwain Chambers of Great Britain, Trinidadian Olympic silver medallist Richard Thompson and Jamaica’s Michael Frater, who will be battling hard to claim what is expected to be the last two places in the heat, considering Gay and Powell have already "booked" two of the places.
The other semis which is expected to be just as tough, will go off first with World record holder Usain Bolt and training partner Daniel Bailey of Antigua being the headliners.
The Caribbean sprint aces, who train under the guidance of Glen Mills at the Racers Track Club in Kingston, laughed their way into the semis after complementing each others running patterns during the quarter-finals after 50m.
With these two being in such great form, one expects the race for third and fourth is where the excitement will be.
Those seriously in line to take these spots are Americans Mike Rogers and Darvis Patton, but of course the likes of Trinidadian Marc Burns, who is a championships runner and Briton’s Tyrone Edgar are also capable of stealing a surprise.