#Athletics fans around Europe will be building themselves up for the annual Athletissima Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, after the sprint line-ups were announced recently. Not only are the three fastest men in the world over 100m entered for that event but the biggest draw of all, Usain Bolt has confirmed his intention to race over the 200m distance at the Swiss venue.
Elite field for the 100m
Organisers for the elite athletics competition in Lausanne have secured the appearance of the hottest properties in men's sprinting for one evening:
Top of the 100m billing will be Justin Gatlin, who has recorded the two fastest times so far this season. He ran 9.74 seconds in Doha and almost matched that in Rome with 9.75 seconds.
Jamaican Asafa Powell ranks second fastest in 2015, scorching to victory in Kingston in May in 9.84 seconds. Powell is a former world record holder and holds a personal best of 9.72 seconds.
Not to be left out of the elite line-up is the American Tyson Gay. He was the winner in Eugene at the end of May, running a swift 9.88 seconds to edge out his countryman Mike Rodgers by just 2 hundredths of a second. Gay is a 9.69 seconds sprinter at his very best.
Controversial past for all three
All three men share a controversial past, besides all being coincidentally born in the year 1982, with Gatlin being the oldest of the three. Gatlin has twice been banned for doping offences in the past, yet has rebounded after his bans in even better shape than he was before.
Powell tested positive in 2013 for a stimulant drug called oxilofrine, causing him to pull out of that year's World Championships. Jamaica's Anti-Doping Commission stated in April 2014 that he would be banned for 18 months, the suspension being effectively backdated such that it would expire in December of that year. His ban was lifted in July 2014, after a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Gay served a one-year ban for doping which expired in June, 2014. The timing of his suspension led to him being another athlete to miss out on the World Championships in Moscow in 2013.
Bolt looking to crack 20 seconds
Bolt is opting for the longer distance at the Lausanne meeting on 9th July. He will be looking to get back under 20 seconds after a slightly disappointing opening race over 200m in Ostrava in May.Whether or not Gatlin, Bolt and the rest will all clash over the shorter distance before this summer's World Championships in Beijing seems doubtful at present. With Bolt holding the world record at an amazing 9.58 seconds from 2009 in Berlin, that should be a clash worth waiting for.