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Powell to face Gatlin in 50m

2012-01-06 10:51

New York - Former 100m world record-holder Asafa Powell and 2004 Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin, trying to escape the shame of a four-year doping ban, will lead a stellar 50m field at the US Open.

Jamaica's Powell, Americans Gatlin and Trell Kimmons, Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua's Daniel Bailey will compete in the seldom-run event on January 28 at Madison Square Garden, organizers said on Thursday.

Powell will make his first indoor appearance since 2004 at the meet. He held the 100m world record at 9.77 seconds from 2005 until compatriot and current world record-holder and 2008 Olympic champion Usain Bolt broke it in 2008.

Powell, 29, told USA Today that he is confident he can challenge Bolt for 100m Olympic gold this year at London and wants to jump-start his season with a rare indoor effort.

"I don't like indoors for the mere fact it's so cold," Powell said. "I think I will run faster to the building than inside."

Gatlin, 28, won 2005 world 100 and 200 titles but his feats were tainted after a four-year ban was imposed following a positive test for testosterone. It was his second doping violation after taking a banned stimulant in 2001.

After failed appeals for the chance to defend his title at Beijing, Gatlin refocused for London.

"My coach told me to be patient and that the goal is the 2012 Olympics," Gatlin said last July. "If I'm on the podium in London, which is a real objective, then I'll be able to consider my return to be fully accomplished."

Thompson, 26, was second to Bolt at the Beijing Olympics while Bailey, 25, took third at 60m in the 2010 world indoor championships.

The 50m world record of 5.56 seconds was set in 1996 by Canada's Donovan Bailey.

AFP