Bolt, Robles and Powell in the spotlight at Lausanne’s all-star party

Bolt, Robles and Powell in the spotlight at Lausanne’s all-star party – IAAF World Athletics Tour – PREVIEW

Usain Bolt after the 200m in Lausanne in 2008 (Olivier ALLENSPACH/Switzerland)

relnews Lausanne, Switzerland - Usain Bolt in the men’s 200m, Dayron Robles in the men’s 110m Hurdles and Asafa Powell in the men’s 100m are just a few names in the spotlight in the star-studded Athletissima meeting in Lausanne on Tuesday 7 July.

Athletissima 2009 is a Super Grand Prix status event as part of the IAAF World Athletics Tour.

JAM vs USA in men’s flat sprints - Bolt’s loves Lausanne track

Jamaica’s triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt will make his first European appearance in the 200m just over a week after taking the sprint double at the Jamaican Championships in Kingston where he clocked 9.86 (beating Asafa Powell) and 20.25 into headwind.

In his only standard track race of the European season so far Bolt won the 100m in Ostrava with a tailwind of +2.1 m/s despite what he described as “the second worst start I ever had”. Bolt has a fond memory of Lausanne where he equalled the meeting record last year clocking 19.63 easing up in the final part of the race.

“I love the track, its long curve and the great crowd”, said Bolt of the great atmosphere in Lausanne which is famous for the super-fast times in sprint events, especially the half-lap sprint. It is enough to remember that Bolt tied Xavier Carter’s meet record set in the famous 2006 race where four sprinters dipped under the 20 seconds barrier.

2004 Olympic champion and current silver medallist Shawn Crawford, winner at the US Champs in a windy 19.73, and 400 metres Olympic champion Lashawn Merritt (20.07 in Carson this year) will lead the US challenge to Bolt. Olympic 100 metres fourth placer Churandy Martina from the Dutch Antilles will be looking to run his first ever sub-20 seconds time.

The men’s 100m also promises to be another Jamaica vs. USA clash. Jamaica’s Asafa Powell won last year at the Pontaise stadium in Lausanne in 9.72, which is his PB, the meeting record and makes him second fastest man in history behind the legendary Bolt’s 9.69 in Beijing.

Powell, who was beaten by Bolt at the Jamaican Championships but showed encouarging form after a ankle injury with his season’s best of 9.97, opened his european campaign with a photo-finish win in Oslo in 10.07, and will be challenged by new US champion Mike Rodgers who won three World Athletics Tour meetings in Belem, New York, Eugene Prefontaine Classic and the US Champs in a wind-assisted 9.91 so making the US team for the Berlin World Championships.

Robles back to make up for rare 2008 defeat

Dayron Robles will run his fourth men’s 110m Hurdles of the year after 13.30 in Thessaloniki, a world seasonal lead of 13.04 in Ostrava and a 13.47 heat and a windy 13.18 at CAC Champs in Havana.

Last year in Lausanne the Cuban hit the final hurdle and was beaten by David Oliver for one of his two defeats in 2008. Robles, World record holder with 12.87 and seven times under the 13 seconds barrier in 2008, will be looking for his first win at the Athletissima and possibly his first sub-13 seconds time of the year on the track where his Chinese rival and friend Liu Xiang set the previous World record (12.88).

Robles will face US Dexter Faulk who ran brilliantly in the European circuit this summer with a Golden League win in Berlin and a new PB of 13.13 in Ostrava behind Robles. Two US stars who have made the Berlin team are in the Lausanne line-up. They are US Champs David Payne and third placer Aries Merritt.

Jamaica vs USA again in women’s sprints too

A clash between Jamaica and USA will also headline the women’s sprint events. Olympic champion Shelly Ann Fraser from Jamaica, who clocked an impressive 10.88 into a headwind of -1.5 m/s at the Jamaican Trials, will clash against US champion Carmelita Jeter, who ran a super wind-assisted 10.72 in the semifinals of the US Champs in Eugene before taking the National title in a windy 10.78. Jeter is still unbeaten this year and won at the World Athletics Tour meets in New York and Eugene.

Muna Lee, runner-up in the US Champs in 22.13, and double Olympic medallist Kerron Stewart from Jamaica, who won the first two legs of the Golden League in the 100 metres in Berlin and Oslo, Jamaican 400m Olympic silver medallist Shericka Williams will line up in the women’s 200 metres