Ashmeade, Stewart look to secure Diamond

…As Powell faces Gay in 100m at Zurich meet

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Thursday, August 28, 2014

JAMAICANS Nickel Ashmeade and Kerron Stewart could wrap up Diamond races in the 200m and 100m, respectively, at today's penultimate IAAF Diamond League meet of the season, the Weltklasse in Zurich, Switzerland starting at 1:00 pm (Jamaica time).

Ashmeade leads Panama's Alonso Edward by three points (14 to 11) and the athlete who finishes ahead today will take the Diamond trophy in the 200m, while Stewart needs to finish in the top three to collect her first Diamond.

Two other Jamaicans -- quarter-miler Novlene Williams Mills and intermediate hurdler Kaliese Spencer have also won their respective events in the series.

Today nine Jamaicans will take part at the meet, including former world record holder Asafa Powell, who will line up in a men's 100m that will also include American Tyson Gay.

Ashmeade needs only to finish ahead of the Panamanian World Championships medallist to retain the trophy for Jamaica after Warren Weir won last year.

Ashmeade is coming off a good win in Birmingham on Sunday, using his fast start to hold off the late-charging Edward, and the two are expected to continue their rivalry.

Commonwealth Games champion Rasheed Dyer will also take part in the race.

Stewart, who also won in Birmingham, should take the trophy as with the withdrawal of previous leader Tori Bowie due to injury, she leads with seven points, while Veronica Campbell Brown, Commonwealth Games sprint double champion Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria and Allison Felix are all on two points.

With the points for the final race being doubled, however, Stewart must finish in the top three to ensure she takes home the prize.

The American Bowie pulled up in the Birmingham event and was withdrawn from today's meeting.

Powell and Gay are both coming off drug bans in the last few months and will be facing each other for the first time.

Powell ran a fast 9.87 seconds at a meeting in the United States last weekend, while Gay had run 9.93 seconds in his first race back from his suspension in Lausanne earlier.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kemar Bailey-Cole won in Birmingham, while Nesta Carter and Diamond Race leader Michael Rodgers are also expected to feature.

Another Commonwealth Games champion O'Dayne Richards will take part in the shot put competition against Diamond League winner Reese Hoffa of the USA, David Storl of Germany and world leader Joe Kovacs of the USA.

Roxroy Cato will contest the men's 400m hurdles where he will go up against Diamond League leader Michael Tinsley, whose 17 points are two more than Puerto Rico's Javier Culson, as well as world champion Jehue Gordon of Trinidad.




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