Oslo, Jun 7 (IANS/CMC): Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt will square off with fellow countryman Asafa Powell for the second time in as many weeks in a 100 metre contest at the Oslo Diamond League meet here Thursday.
Bolt posted a world-leading 9.76 seconds in Rome last week in condemning Powell to his 10th defeat in the duo's last 11 meetings and will now renew the rivalry at Oslo's Bislett Stadium, reports the Caribbean Media Corporation.
The 25-year-old, who will defend his Olympic sprint titles in London later this year, said these meets were crucial to his preparation
"I can't complain. The key thing is that I'm injury free and that's always a good thing. Everything's been coming together slowly but surely. I'm happy where everything is at, I'm making progress," Bolt pointed out.
"I came to Europe to run these races to make sure that everything was going well and my coach could analyse my race and figure out what was going wrong to work on it and get me ready for the trials and Olympics."
He struggled to a sluggish 10.04 win in Ostrava a fortnight ago - his slowest time in 26 finals - and the time raised speculation about chinks his armour.
Bolt, however, quickly silenced his critics by dismissing his field, days later in Rome,
Powell, who finished second in 9.91 seconds, will now attempt to upset Bolt and raise his profile ahead of the London Olympics.
Despite dipping below the 10-second barrier 76 times in stellar career, Powell has never won a World or Olympic title.
He said Thursday's race would be important not only to his build-up to the Olympics but to next week's Olympic trials in Jamaica.
"This race is very important because it puts you in a good state of mind," pointed out Powell, who has run a season-best of 9.88 seconds.
"It makes you very comfortable with competing and going into the trials, it shows it shouldn't be a big problem to make it through.
"I'm in good shape but I just haven't been able to put it all together yet. I feel very strong, I'm in good shape to run fast."
Powell holds the current stadium record of 9.72 set two years ago but will need a significant improvement this time around to attain those lofty heights.