EUGENE, Oregon, May 28, 2006 - World and Olympic 100-metre champion Justin Gatlin earned bragging rights over Asafa Powell on Sunday as he and the Jamaican cruised to wins in separate heats at the Prefontaine Classic.
Gatlin, who shares the world’s fastest man title with Jamaica’s Powell, made it look easy by clocking a 9.88 seconds while Powell posted a 9.93 in the second 100m race of the day. Powell’s time was boosted by a tailwind of 2.5m/sec.
``A lot of people think I can only run fast in championship races but I am proving them wrong,’’ Gatlin said.
Earlier this month in Doha, Gatlin equalled Powell’s world record of 9.77.
Gatlin clearly looked the better of the two on Sunday and said he would have eclipsed the world record if he hadn’t brushed the arm of the runner in the next lane over the final metres.
:eek: ``I was going to set the world record but me and Leonard Scott bumped arms three times. Well, maybe next year,’’ Gatlin said.
Gatlin exploded out of the blocks and led from the start, finishing ahead of American compatriot Scott (10.16) and Jamaican Michael Frater (10.17).
Powell beat Americans Shawn Crawford (10.04) and Jason Smoots (10.05) as he appeared to ease up just before the finish line.
The two were scheduled to race on June 11 in Gateshead, England, but Gatlin decided on Sunday to cancel the highly anticipated face-to-face showdown.
The world wants to see us running against the other, but I ask the world to be patient,'' said Gatlin, who will run next week in his native New York. I am not taking anything personally, I am just trying to better our sport.’’
Powell said there is no urgency to race head-to-head against Gatlin.
I came out here to try and get in front of the pack and take it easy,'' Powell said. Both of us are on the top of the world, and we just want to stay there.’’
Among the other impressive victories on Sunday, China’s Olympic champion Liu Xiang won the 110m hurdles in the fastest time in the world this year, 13.21sec.
Liu, who shares the world record of 12.91, improved on the 13.22sec posted by three other runners already this year.
France’s world champion Ladji Doucoure was second in 13.33, and American Allen Johnson was third in 13.39.
Bershawn Jackson led an American podium sweep in the 400m hurdles with a 48.22, winning easily over Kerron Clement (49.12) and James Carter (49.31).
American Torri Edwards won the women’s 100m with a time of 11.08, finishing ahead of Jamaica’s Sherone Simpson (11.12).
Mozambique’s Maria Mutola (1:58.86) won the women’s 800m, while Tatyana Tomashova, of Russia, captured the 1500m in 4:01.81.