PARIS - World sprint sensation Usain Bolt comes up against Jamaican compatriot Asafa Powell in the 100m for the first time this season at today's IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris.
Bolt, the reigning world record holder in the 100m and 200m, opened his season with a 9,86sec outing in Daegu, but then had to cancel several meets after an Achilles tendon problem.
The 23-year-old made his return last week in Lausanne, clocking 9,82, and while insisting that he feels no pain in his tendon, said he was only firing at 80percent of his capabilities.
That said, the cocksure triple Olympic and double world sprint champion insisted he would aim for a season's best time of around 9,7sec today.
"I'm in good shape," Bolt said. "I'm not yet 100percent, maybe 80percent. As long as I'm running in a straight lane, it's good."
Bolt's outing in Lausanne matched the current season's lead set in Rome by Powell, the former world record holder.
"On Friday (today) I think we will see a serious race as Asafa said he is ready for me," Bolt said.
"I haven't competed against him yet this season. He is in great shape. He has been injury-free and consistent around 9,8sec."
Powell was the last to beat Bolt in the 100m, edging him in Stockholm two years ago. Bolt has since remained undefeated in both the 100m and 200m.
"I'm looking forward to running 9,7sec based on what I did in Lausanne," Bolt said.
"I ran 9,82 there in pretty good conditions, but when you know that the competition level is higher, you can expect a better time."
South African world champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi will compete in the men's 800m, with Sudan's Abubaker Kaki sure to be in the running.
In the field, home fans' eyes will be glued to the men's pole vault, where French duo Renaud Lavillenie and Romain Mesnil will be up against the best - Australian world and Olympic champion Steve Hooker. In the women's events, American Allyson Felix will be a strong candidate to win the 200m. - Sapa-AFP