Justin Gatlin powers past Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell
American Justin Gatlin reinforced his credentials as favourite for next month`s world championships by powering to an impressive victory in the 100m at the Diamond League meet in Lausanne on Thursday.
Gatlin, starting in lane number four, held his form and powered through the second part of the race at the Stade de la Pontaise with his traditional late drive, clocking 9.75 seconds, just one-hundredth off his world-leading time set in Doha in May.
Jamaican Asafa Powell finished second in 9.92sec, with American Tyson Gay in third on the same time.
"I love this track! Last year I ran 9.79sec, this year there was more competition with Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell," said Gatlin, who extended his undefeated run of races to 26 since August 2013.
"It`s always good to face the best, it`s like a heavyweight boxing match, that`s what I want to do."
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m champion who consequently served two doping bans before nailing the 2012 world 60m indoor title, Olympic bronze at the London Games and a world silver in Moscow a year later, added: "I`ve been wanting to go faster.
"During the race I was in my zone and it felt really great. I`m happy for Tyson as well. One of my big objectives is the American record."
Jamaican world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt, also the world record holder, had been due to race the 200m in the Swiss city but pulled out with a pelvic injury, installing Gatlin as firm favourite for next month`s worlds in Beijing.
"It`s not just about one person," Gatlin insisted. "There are six other people in the race besides me and Usain. I just focus on executing and doing my best."
Powell, who served a year of a doping ban before it was lifted after appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, was left disappointed with his race, his 89th sub-10sec 100m.
"It wasn`t my best race, it`s actually one of my slowest times of the season but I`m still confident," said the 32-year-old former world record holder at the distance.
"My start wasn`t so good today, but I know it`s something I can work on. I don`t feel any additional pressure to represent Jamaica because Usain is injured.
"Every time I put on a Jamaica vest I try to do my best for myself and my nation and this year will be no different."
The 2007 double world sprint champion Gay, who also served a one-year doping ban reduced for cooperating with the drug authorities, put his third place down to a slight injury he was carrying.
"I have a sore hip and I`ve been doing my best to get better, but I have no excuses," he said.
"I`ve really been trying to shake the cobwebs off. Now I have to get back to training and work hard to get better," added the 32-year-old American.