LONDON, July 23 – Triple Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt will use this weekend's London Grand Prix to underline his credentials as the world's best sprinter.Bolt won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the Beijing Games last year and holds the 100m world record of 9.69 seconds, but America’s Tyson Gay and fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell both believe they can take his crown.
Gay has already recorded the fastest 100m time this year and won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the World Championships in Osaka two years ago, while Commonwealth 100m champion Powell is unbeaten over the distance at Crystal Palace having run under 10 seconds in his previous three races at the venue.
Bolt will compete against Powell in the 100m on Friday, but Gay isn’t running in that race. With Bolt sitting out the 200m, there will be no clash with Gay then either.
But, although head to heads between the rivals may be thin on the ground in south London, Bolt knows dominant displays in the 100m and 4x100m relay would send a message to Gay and Powell ahead of next month’s World Championships in Berlin.
"I’m not sure I will be 100 percent in Berlin, but if I’m 95 percent I’ll be in contention," said Bolt, who is recovering from injuries suffered in a recent car crash.
"I still have a few things to get right, but if I can get everything together I should be ready for the Worlds.
"I’m looking forward to racing in London because I’m based here and there will be lots of Jamaican support. The fans will be loud and fun and I can feed off their energy."
Like Bolt, Gay believes the London event offers an ideal chance to fine-tune his form and lay down a marker going into the World Championships.
"I’ve only raced once this season in the 200m and I was really happy with that," he said. "Another 200m fits perfectly into my preparation for Berlin at this time and London will be the place to do that.
"I want to go to Berlin and defend my titles, and I’m happy with my progress this season so far. But we have a way to go."
Jamaica will also have highly-rated prospect Yohan Blake taking part in the men’s 100m. The 19-year-old won World Junior bronze three years ago.
Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba is another world record holder planning to hone her form ahead of Berlin.
Dibaba, 24, made history at the Beijing Olympics last year when she became the first female athlete to win gold in both the 5,000m and 10,000m.
She aldo holds the world record for the 5,000m, having clocked 14:11.15 in Oslo last year, and will run in Saturday’s 5,000m in London.
She said: "The London Grand Prix is important for me as a final test before the World Championships. I hope to give everyone a preview of Berlin."