Powell & Gatlin set for Gateshead

World record-holder Asafa Powell and Olympic champion Justin Gatlin will race over 100m for the first time this year at June’s British Grand Prix.
The pair last met in London last year when Powell pulled up after a few strides with a groin problem.

The American world champion and his Jamaican rival both ran 9.95 seconds in separate races over the weekend, but Powell holds the world record of 9.77.

The Norwich Union British Grand Prix takes place in Gateshead on 11 June.

Meeting organisers Fast Track were delighted to secure the contest and although managing director Jon Ridgeon refused to say how much each athlete is being paid, both will almost certainly be receiving a six-figure fee.

“It’s not come cheap but this is the race every person in the world this year has been waiting to see,” Ridgeon admitted.

"There was lots of competition from overseas, but it has always been our policy to fetch the very best of head-to-head races to our meetings.

“We wanted this race so the public can see only the best and they don’t come any bigger than this.”

The 24-year-old Gatlin, who has a personal best of 9.88, will also compete in London (28 July) and Birmingham (19/20 August) this year.

“Gateshead will be my first race in Europe in 2006 and I’m pleased as I’ve not raced there before,” Gatlin said recently.

The American claimed a stunning sprint double at the Helsinki World Championship last season but with no major titles on offer this year he has set his sights on Commonwealth champion Powell’s world record.

“I think this year it would be a great time to try for the 100m world record. I’m the world champion, so of course I want that world record.”

However, he is unlikely to be able to break the record in Gateshead as no athlete has ever gone under 10 seconds in the often wet and windy conditions. :rolleyes:

Why face off in such a potentially slow race? I guess the money was good!!!

I think Gateshead may have been the venue for the “showdown” over 100m between the then new Olympic champion Christie and Lewis, who (for sickness reasons I think?) did not make the US 100m trio for Barcelona the previous year. This was the race almost stolen by :stuck_out_tongue: Drummond. The money as I recall was huge for it’s day and Lewis flew in from the US either the night before or the day of the race - demonstrating what a farce these “match races” can sometimes be. I understand one of the London newspapers put up a large share of the purse - and for their pain and effort that paper was not even given an exclusive interview opportunity by Christie - thereby establishing a mode of behaviour which would have damaging repercussions to this day (at least in so far as newspapers anywhere in the world putting up their cash, rather than merely “kind” in promotional print-space support for track and field. Well done Christie) :rolleyes:

By Tom Knight
(Filed: 10/05/2006)

The Olympic 100 metres champion, Justin Gatlin, will face the world record-holder, Asafa Powell, for the first time this year at the Norwich Union Grand Prix in Gateshead on June 11.

The most eagerly awaited head-to-head in the sport represents a major coup for the promoters, Fast Track.

It was thought that Gatlin and Powell, who both clocked 9.95sec in separate races at the weekend, would not meet until later in the summer.

Gatlin, the American who won the 100m and 200m at last summer’s World Championships, will be paid about $100,000 (£54,000) for three races in the UK, at Gateshead, Crystal Palace and Birmingham. So far, Powell, the Jamaican who set the world record with 9.77 last year, has only signed up for Gateshead.

Jon Ridgeon, Fast Track’s managing director, said: “It’s the race everyone has been waiting to see. There was competition from overseas but it’s our policy to fetch the very best of head-to-head races to our meetings.”

The pair last raced at Crystal Palace in July when Powell pulled up with the groin injury that kept him out of the World Championships. In their past meetings, Gatlin has claimed six wins to Powell’s three.

Powell, who finished fifth in the Olympic final, began this year by winning the Commonwealth Games title in Melbourne. Neither has ever raced in Gateshead and - weather permitting - the track record of 10.05 should fall. Of the British sprinters, only Mark Lewis-Francis has so far been confirmed, but they are destined to play no more than a supporting role.

Meanwhile, athletics is among the sports that will need to improve if Britain is to achieve its target of finishing fourth in the medals’ table at the London Olympics in 2012.

The warning came from the British Olympic Association at yesterday’s launch of an annual report called “Countdown to 2012,” which will monitor the progress being made by Britain’s Olympic sports.

The BOA also claimed they will need to raise £6 million-a-year, double their normal annual budget, to fund their own preparations for 2012.

Lord Coe, the chairman of London 2012 and Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister, are to host a nationwide roadshow this summer in a bid to raise awareness and promote the benefits of the Games.

yes this was the place alright.100k each(christie/lewis) for 10 seconds work not bad eh!

I guess if you think of it per second in athletics some of the athletes get paid pretty well!

TC it ain’t consistant though.top premiership guys get 50k per week…

you also got to remember its not just a case of rocking up and racing, there is the warm up and other preperations as well.
so if you look at the total time spent preparing for the race the hourly rate is not that great, compared to other sports

Very true bud mike…Its also the weeks/months of multiple runs…injuries/strains etc…Full time footballers get paid full wages when ill,injured and even banned. £50,000 a week is a hell of a lot of cash…especially when you think that you can have an ‘off’ week and not play great and still get paid! Can’t do that in track…you’ll get smoked!