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November 23, 2009

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Home » Sports » Athletics

Bolt, Gay set for three showdowns

Sprint stars Usain Bolt of Jamaica and Tyson Gay of the United States will race each other at least three times at elite Diamond League meetings next year.

Athletic's governing body said on Saturday that the two fastest men in history are contracted to compete in seven of the 14 cities in Asia, Europe and the United States featured in the inaugural global series.

The rivals must decide which meets will host their showdowns, over 100 or 200 meters.

"The only thing I know is I will be racing Bolt at least three times or more," Gay said before a Diamond League launch ceremony in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on Saturday.

The new circuit will be the top tier of track and field in 2010 with no Olympics or world championships on the schedule.

Bolt, a three-time Olympic champion, took Gay's 100 world title in a record time of 9.58 seconds in Berlin in August, leaving the 27-year-old American with silver despite a lifetime best of 9.71.

Gay then ran 9.69 -- equaling the 23-year-old Jamaican's previous world mark set in the Beijing Olympic final -- in Shanghai in September.

Other elite athletes committed to seven Diamond League appearances are distance runner Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, pole vaulters Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia and Australian Steve Hooker, American 400 runner Sanya Richards, high jumper Blanka Vlasic of Croatia and Norway's javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen.

The Diamond League offers US$6.63 million in total prize money across 32 track-and-field disciplines, each staged seven times over the series. A four-carat diamond will be presented to the season-ending points leader in each event.

It opens in Doha, Qatar, in May, and stops in Shanghai, New York City and several European capital cities before concluding with two finals meets of 16 events each in Zurich and Brussels in August.

The new series replaces the six-city Golden League that offered athletes a share of a US$1 million jackpot for six victories.


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