Bolt, Powel face off in Diamond League showdown today


PARIS, France (AP) — Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell go head-to-head for the first time this year in the 100 metres at the Diamond League meet in Paris on Friday.

Bolt and Powell, who share the fastest time this year of 9.82 seconds, meet in a much-anticipated showdown at the Areva meet at the Stade de France.

"Asafa Powell taking the start, plus runners like Yohan Blake and Daniel Bailey, I know the 100 will be a great race," Bolt said. "My goal will be not to lose this race. I plan to go 9.7. It should be a good race. Asafa is ready."

Following an Achilles' tendon injury, Bolt returned to competition in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 9 and clocked 9.82 seconds. That matched Powell's time in Rome on June 10.

Missing today will be American sprinter Tyson Gay, who beat Powell in Gateshead last weekend. The Stade de France race will be Bolt's third 100 competition of the season.

"I no longer feel the slightest discomfort as far as my Achilles' tendon goes," Bolt said. "I'm, however, remaining careful and being really attentive during training sessions. According to my doctor, I should be running at 100 per cent again in two or three weeks."

Powell is the last man to have beaten Bolt in the 100, two years ago in Stockholm. Bolt, the Olympic and world champion and world record-holder in the 100 and 200, said he improved a lot after that defeat.