LAUSANNE • American Justin Gatlin reinforced his credentials as favourite for next month's World Championships, by coming up with an impressive victory in the 100m at the Diamond League meet in Lausanne on Thursday.
He powered through the second part of the race at the Stade de la Pontaise with his traditional late drive, clocking 9.75sec, just 0.01sec off his world-leading time set in Doha in May.
Jamaican Asafa Powell finished second in 9.92, with American Tyson Gay third with the same time.
"I love this track! Last year, I ran 9.79, this year there was more competition with Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell," said Gatlin, who extended his undefeated run to 26 races 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 served two doping bans, 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."
Jamaican world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt, also the world record holder, had been due to race the 200m, but pulled out with a pelvic injury, installing Gatlin as firm favourite for next month's showcase 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.
"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 that was reduced for cooperating with the 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.