The world of athletics will hope the spotlight turns back to action on the track and field at the Diamond League meet in Monaco on Friday after a disastrous week during which two of the best sprinters to have ever donned spikes tested positive for drugs.

The failed tests of American Tyson Gay and Jamaican Asafa Powell, second and fourth fastest men of all time, and Powell’s compatriot, three-time Olympic medallist Sherone Simpson, have plunged the sport into one of its darkest periods just three weeks away from the start of the world championships in Moscow.

Gay was expected to run in Monaco, where he set the stadium record of 19.72sec over 200m in 2010, and maintain an impressive streak of early-season unbeaten form in his bid to dethrone Jamaican duo Yohan Blake, now injured, and Usain Bolt of their world sprint titles.

“Herculis Diamond League in Monaco... one of the best track stadiums in the world. Cool poster too.

“Almost looks like I am racing (and losing to) Sally and Mo. LOL,” Gay ill-fatedly posted on the official Facebook page of the meet in reference to Australian hurdler Sally Pearson and Briton Mo Farah.

Ironically, Gay’s absence has made teammate Justin Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion and London Games bronze medallist who served a four-year ban for doping, favourite in the blue riband 100m event.

The race will also feature Frenchmen Christophe Lemaitre and Jimmy Vicaut, Jamaican duo Nickel Ashmeade and Kemar Bailey-Cole, St. Kitts and Nevis veteran Kim Collins and American Mike Rodgers. , who also picked up a nine-month ban for testing positive for a banned stimulant. — AFP

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