Gay, Gatlin clash in Monaco

Justin Gatlin (AFP)
Justin Gatlin (AFP)

Monte Carlo - American sprinters Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin bring their rivalry to the Monaco Diamond League meeting on Friday when they clash in the 200m.

Despite the withdrawal of Jamaica's world silver medallist Warren Weir, who leads this year's world lists with 19.82sec but is now concentrating on the impending Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Gay and Gatlin provide the star quality.

Gay returned to action earlier this month at Lausanne after a one-year doping ban but he was blitzed by former Olympic champion Gatlin who clocked 9.80sec in the 100m.

Former world champion Gay, 31, then won his second outing over 100m in the Paris suburb of Montreuil 10 days ago.

The American was banned in June 2013 after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid in two out-of-competition tests.

His ban, which was reduced from two years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) due to Gay's cooperation, ended on June 23.

The 200m will also feature Alonso Edward of Panama, who is the second-fastest man over the distance this season with a best of 19.84.

America's Curtis Mitchell, the world championship bronze medallist from last year, also lines up in the 200m as does France's European 100m champion Christophe Lemaitre, and Nickel Ashmeade of Jamaica, who has a 2014 best of 19.95.

In the 110m hurdles, Olympic champion and world record holder Aries Merritt looks for a resurgence of form after a 2013 decimated by injury.

Merritt's best time this year is a modest 13.78sec -- way outside his world record of 12.80sec -- and he is not expecting a radical change of luck on Friday.

After running in London this Sunday, he will return to the United States to undergo a four-week training block.

"The 110m hurdles is a fierce, traumatic discipline. Liu Xiang is injured and Dayron Robles is no longer at the high level he once was," said Merritt.

Liu and Robles were Merritt's predecessors as the world's fastest men over the hurdles.

In the 1500m, Kenya's Asbel Kiprop, the former Olympic and two-time world champion, has his sights set on breaking Hicham El Guerrouj's world record.

The 24-year-old, who has dominated the four-lap race since 2008, is planning to attack El Guerrouj's 16-year-old world mark of 3:26.00 in Monaco.

"This is something I have planned since last year. That's why I have decided to forgo all other competitions and I am now focusing on building my strength and technique for Monaco," the 2008 Olympic champion told AFP.

Fellow Kenyan David Rudisha won the 800m in a blistering time of 1min 43.34sec at the Glasgow Grand Prix last weekend.

Beset by knee problems last year, Rudisha showed he is back to his best as he made his first appearance in Britain since breaking the world record on his way to winning Olympic gold at London 2012.

He will look to continue his form in Monaco before heading back to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games later this month.

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