Gardener poised for Gateshead showdown
24 May 2006 15:44
Olympic sprint relay gold medallist and former world indoor 60m champion Jason Gardener will lead the British challenge against the world’s two fastest men at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix in Gateshead on 11 June.
Gardener - who is looking to bounce back after his injury problems at the Commonwealth Games in March - will face joint-world-record-holders Asafa Powell and Justin Gatlin in the biggest 100m race in the world so far this year.
It’s the first time this season that the American Olympic and world champion will face the Jamaican Commonwealth gold medallist, and Gatlin’s world record equalling performance in Doha on 12 May has turned the already mouth watering clash into one of the hottest tickets on the sporting calendar.
The two last met on the track at the Norwich Union London Grand Prix in July 2005 when Powell - after running an impressive 10.02 seconds in his semi-final - pulled up after just a few strides in the final with the recurrence of a groin problem. Gardener finished fifth in that race.
British Olympic sprint relay gold medallists Darren Campbell, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis will also take part in the 100m in Gateshead, which will be run as two heats and a final.
Rapidly emerging talent Tim Abeyie has also been given a chance to shine against the big boys, with a place in the field. Abeyie is one of the new breed of British sprinters currently coming through, and ably illustrated his progress this year with victory in Loughborough last weekend.
The Norwich Union British Grand Prix will be a big test for all the British sprinters, who will already be thinking about the battle for places to make the GB team for the European Championships in Gothenburg in August.