'Healing Hans' adds needle to 'burn-up in Berlin'

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It is fair to say there has been some needle ahead of the showdown between the two heavyweights of the sprint game here this weekend.

Tyson Gay has been waiting all summer for his big chance to catch up with Usain Bolt on the track. The American will get the opportunity on Sunday evening in the 100 metres final at the world championships, provided he and the Jamaican phenomenon survive three rounds. Still, as both men took to the press conference stage yesterday to give their views on the "burn-up in Berlin", it transpired that they had met in Munich last week – at the clinic of the sports medicine man known for such cures as the injection of cell parts from the foetuses of calves.

"We just bumped into each other," Gay said, disclosing that the rival speed merchants had crossed paths at the clinic of Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, better known as "Healing Hans", who forged his reputation as the team doctor of Bayern Munich and the German national football side, and whose radical methods have benefited a cast of characters ranging from Luciano Pavarotti to Cristiano Ronaldo. "He was coming in just as I was leaving," Gay added. "We just spoke to each other. I said, 'Wassup?', nothing major. He went his way; I went mine."

Gay is more than happy for the defence of his 100m world title against the man who won the Olympic crown in world record time last year to be promoted as a heavyweight confrontation. "I do see it as a head to head," he said. "I've been comparing my times to his and we've been running in the same area code. I'm very happy people are saying I have a chance to beat Usain Bolt. It feels good that people are looking at this as a big clash. Mentally, I'm preparing myself for battle."

Gay is also preparing himself to run faster than any man in history in order to hold on to the World Championship 100m crown he won in Osaka two years ago – back in the days when Bolt was still a 200m specialist (before lowering the 100m world record to 9.69sec in Beijing). "I believe Usain Bolt will try to break the world record," he said. "Why wouldn't he? That's how I'm framing my mind. If he tries to go 9.6, I'll try to go 9.6. I believe anything under 9.69sec is attainable."

As for the "burn-up in Berlin", the Lightning Bolt simply shrugged his shoulders at all the fuss. "For me, it's a race, not a fight," he said.