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Super athletes to star in Bird's Nest
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The fastest sprinters in the world come to the Bird's Nest in the Olympic athletic competitions which start Friday morning.

The men's 100m dash trio, Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell, both from Jamaica and Tyson Gay of the United States, are expected to compete head to head in the Bird's Nest, or the national stadium.

Bolt lowered the world record of 9.74 seconds made by Powell to 9.72 seconds on June 1. Gay, who finished a wind-aided fastest of the human in 9.68 seconds, made himself also a hot candidate for the Olympic gold.

Recent information showed that all the three contenders are in good form.

Chinese would put more attention to the competition between China's favorite Liu Xiang and Cuban Dayron Robles, who shortened Liu's record in the men's 110m hurdles by one hundredth of a second to 12.87 seconds.

With an unimpressive season's best of 13.18 seconds, Liu is under immense pressure to succeed in his second tour to the Olympics. He stunned his nation by snatching the 110m hurdles gold in Athens four years ago, the first sprinting Olympic gold won by the Chinese.

The women's 100m sprint is not less attractive. Torri Edwards is the world's fastest woman this year with 10.78 seconds but will face substantial challenge from teammates Lauryn Williams and Muna Lee. Jamaican Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson are also expected to compete for the gold.

The high jumps will feature two glamorous women, Elena Isinbaeva of Russia and Blanka Vlasic of Croatia for pole vault and high jump respectively.

Reigning Olympic and world champion Isinbaeva broke her own world record in 5.04m in Monaco at the end of July. World champion Vlasic has not been defeated since June 2007 and has her first Olympic gold in sight.

Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie did not choose to run the men's marathon, but would return to the scene of his former track glory in the men's 10,000m race. His country fellow Kenenisa Bekele, Olympic champion and world record holder, will run both the men's 10,000m and 5,000m.

The US athletes are expected to conquer the men's shot put. Tero Pitkamaki of Finland and Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway will be competitive in the men's javelin. World champion Valerie Vili of New Zealand and Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus will compete for the women's shot put title.

China's favorite marathoner Zhou Chunxiu is expected to line up with world record holder Paula Radcliffe of Britain and a few strong contenders from Japan in the women's marathon.

(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2008)

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