EUGENE, June 3 – Allyson Felix, still pondering the possibility of a 200m-400m double bid at the World Championships, will further hone her 400m skills at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting on Saturday.
Felix, a three-time world champion at 200m, is the defending 400m champion at the Prefontaine. She’ll run the longer race in Eugene and said she plans to run the 200m at the Diamond League meeting in New York next week as she builds toward the US championships and world trials back in Eugene later in June.
"I’m pleased with the way my season is beginning," said Felix, who won the 400m at the Doha Diamond League meeting in May and added another 400m Diamond League victory in Rome in 49.81sec.
"It’s going to be a long year, so I’m looking forward to progressing with my ultimate goal being World Championships."
Felix also finished fourth in the 200m in Rome, saying she raced both because her coach "wanted to see how I run under fatigue."
As the reigning 200m world champion, Felix wouldn’t have to compete in that event at the US trials in order to race it at the worlds in Daegu, South Korea, August 27-September 4.
She said the schedule in Daegu wouldn’t prohibit an attempt at the unprecedented double, with the 400m contested on three days with a two-day break before the 200m begins.
However, the fact that her signature race comes second could prompt her to forego the 400m, rather than risk being at less than full strength for the 200m.
"If it was the other way around, it wouldn’t be a question," she said.
The men’s 110m hurdles promises a showdown between China’s Liu Xiang and American David Oliver.
Last year at the Prefontaine, Oliver dominated the field to continue a winning streak that lasted through 2010 and up to the Shanghai Diamond League meeting on May 15.
There former world record-holder Liu edged Oliver, the Chinese star showing that his comeback after years slowed by injury is on course.
The men’s 100m will feature former Olympic and world champion Justin Gatlin, who returns to the meeting after serving a four-year doping suspension.
Since returning to competition last year Gatlin has raced mainly at low-key meetings, but Prefontaine meet director Tom Jordan said the American had earned a place in this Diamond League field that also includes Jamaicans Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Steve Mullings.
Jordan said he expected Gatlin to be well received by the athletics-mad fans in Eugene.
"We’re a society that if you have paid your debt to society, then you’re eligible to run," he told the Register-Guard newspaper. "He has steadfastly maintained his innocence — of course, most people do, in that situation. But it is a case where he cared enough and wanted it enough to come back after four years."
Carmelita Jeter, the bronze medalist in the 2007 and 2009 World Championships, will line up against Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price, the reigning Olympic and World champion in the women’s 100m.
It will be the first meeting between the two since 2009, when Jeter who her three follow-up races against Fraser-Price after the World Championships.
Eugene is the fourth stop in the Diamond League series, which awards points depending on performances throughout the 14-event programme with the overall winners in each of the 16 individual events taking home a diamond trophy and a cash prize.