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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 May 2006, 02:37 GMT 03:37 UK
Gatlin pulls out of Powell clash
Justin Gatlin and Asafa Powell
Gatlin and Powell are the two fastest men in the world
The Gateshead showdown between joint 100m world record holders Justin Gatlin and Asafa Powell is off after Gatlin's manager pulled his client out.

The 11 June meeting would have been the first time the two had raced since Gatlin equalled Powell's time of 9.77secs earlier in May.

Gateshead race director Ian Stewart said Gatlin's manager Renaldo Nehemiah had gone back on the contract.

But Nehemiah said a race with Powell had not been part of the deal.

"Clearly we are not happy and we feel there was a break in trust," said Stewart.

"We have a contract, it's a three-meet contract and he is in breach of the contract.

"They said it's too cold, it's too early, (and) they are not coming."

Everybody's clamouring for the first meeting

Justin Gatlin's manager Renaldo Nehemiah

But Nehemiah said there had not been a binding contract requiring Gatlin to run in the 100m.

"We had an agreement to run there, but that agreement didn't include Powell," he said.

"Justin's contract gave him the option of running the 100m or 200m.

"If he (Stewart) had called me after he had talked to Justin and said he would like to invite Powell, I would have said that it is not going to happen."

The breakdown leaves meetings in Athens on 3 July or in London on 28 July as possible locations for the much-hyped first race of the year between Gatlin and Powell.

Earlier this month, Nehemiah told the USA Today newspaper that he wanted to make sure that Powell and Gatlin did not race too many times in order to maintain public interest in the two fastest men in the world.

"Everybody's clamouring for the first meeting," Nehemiah told USA Today.

"I would say they'll meet this year maybe two times. Maybe once (but) no more than three times.

"We're trying to do our part as far as keeping interest and buzz in our sport as to when these guys will meet, ideally culminating in the world championships next year when it really matters."

The pair last met in London last year, but Powell pulled up after a few strides with a groin problem.

Gatlin, the world and Olympic champion, has signed up to race in London and Birmingham (19/20 August) this year.

SEE ALSO
Gatlin and Powell race 'still on'
15 May 06 |  Athletics
Gatlin denied outright 100m mark
17 May 06 |  Athletics
Cram on Gatlin
12 May 06 |  Athletics
Powell eager to regain world mark
14 May 06 |  Athletics
Gatlin breaks world 100m record
12 May 06 |  Athletics
Powell sets impressive early pace
07 May 06 |  Athletics
Gatlin gets season off to flyer
06 May 06 |  Athletics
Powell targets Gatlin after Games
20 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Gatlin storms to London 100m win
22 Jul 05 |  Athletics


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