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Page last updated at 20:26 GMT, Saturday, 21 November 2009

Top sprinters set for showdowns

Tyson Gay, Usain Powell and Asafa Powell
Gay, Bolt and Powell were the medallists at the World Championships

Sprinters Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell will face each other in the new IAAF Diamond League series.

The star trio have been contracted to compete in at least seven of the 14 events, which offers prize money of $6.63m (£4m).

The series starts in Doha on 14 May and each venue will have one of the top trio competing over 100 or 200m.

Britain will host two meetings, at Gateshead on 10 July and London's Crystal Palace on 13-14 August.

Organisers will announce a full list of who will be competing at the various locations, with the first scheduled to be released early in 2010.

The new series replaces the six-city Golden League that offered athletes a share of a $1 million jackpot for six victories.

"Every meeting will see at least one of these sprint stars compete, many meetings will have two of them in action and a lucky few will have the three fastest men on show," said an IAAF statement.

The IAAF is hoping that the rivalries between the three fastest 100m performers will attract spectators back to the sport.

"The concept is good for more showdowns," said Bolt, the world and Olympic 100 and 200m champion. "So I am really looking forward for it. It is good for the sport and it is going to be good for us to keep competing against each other."

But the Jamaican was reluctant to say where he would face his rivals.

"I will compete any time it is necessary but for me," he said, adding it will be his agent and coach who will decide "what time I run and who I run against".

Gay added: It's going to be good for the fans. There's not going to be ducking (out of meeting your top rivals).

"I will be racing Bolt at least three times or more and I'd like to run against him as many times as possible. If he's in my race it's going to make it so exciting."

Among the other top stars who have committed to the series are distance runner Kenenisa Bekele, pole vaulters Steve Hooker and Yelena Isinbayeva, 400m runner Sanya Richards, javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen and high jumper Blanka Vlasic.

Competitors in each event will accumulate points and the top scorer after the season finale in Brussels on 27 August will receive a diamond-studded trophy.

see also
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics
Gay set to be fit for new season
25 Oct 09 |  Athletics
Awesome Bolt breaks 200m record
20 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Bolt sets record to win 100m gold
16 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Britain to host two Diamond meets
16 Jun 09 |  Athletics

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