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Bolt shrugs off Powell abscence

STOCKHOLM, August 6- World record holder and Olympic champion Usain Bolt and American rival Tyson Gay clash for only the third time in the 100m on Friday, but Asafa Powell has been forced out through injury.Bolt has ruled out lowering his world record at the Diamond League meeting as he is keen not to risk further damage to the Achilles tendon which troubled him earlier this season.

"It’s definitely a big race," said Bolt. "I’ve had people in Jamaica saying ‘You can’t let Tyson beat you.’ It’s going to be a tough race, but my main aim is to try and avoid getting injured because my injury is better and hopefully it’s going to hold up.

"This season I’m trying to stay unbeaten but it’s going to be hard race here."

Powell, the last man to beat Bolt on this track two years ago, was forced to withdraw due to a groin injury.

He suffered the injury at the Paris meet on July 16, where he finished behind his Jamaican compatriot.

"I’m really upset. I was looking forward to challenging Usain and Tyson and was hoping that I would be in the race with a solid chance to win," said Powell, the former world record holder.

"But with the way I’ve been feeling it would be difficult to finish the race."

Bolt, Powell and Gay have not competed against each other since the final of the world championships in Berlin a year ago, where Bolt shaved 0.11sec off his world record of 9.69sec from the Beijing Olympics.

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In Germany Bolt set a new time of 9.58, with Gay in second (9.71) and Powell third at 9.84.

At the Paris leg of the Diamond League Bolt confirmed his status as the fastest man over 100m setting a time of 9.84 to beat Powell (9.91).

On the two previous occasions when Bolt and Gay met over 100m, Bolt broke the world record two years ago in New York, where he ran 9.72sec, and in last year’s world championships, where he ran the current mark of 9.58sec.

Gay believes he can set a new personal best.

"I think it will take a pb," he said. "If not, a fast time. I can’t say 9.7 is not a fast time because it is, I can’t say 9.8 isn’t a fast time, because it is. But I know I am going to have to run my best to even be in the video."

Gay has happy recent memories of Stockholm, having beaten Powell last year in the 100m, clocking a wind-assisted 9.79sec.

"Last year it was pretty cool conditions, slightly windy but not bad at all," Gay said.

"If conditions are sunny like they are today, that will be perfect."

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