Thursday, 20 June 2013

Athletics - Gatlin sends strong message to Bolt! .. '100m win was no fluke'

Olympic bronze medallist Justin Gatlin is not willing to call his surprising 100 metres victory over world record holder Usain Bolt a fluke.

The American sprinter prefers to think of last month's triumph as the opening act of journey that will bring him and Bolt together again on a much larger stage later this year, he said.

Prolific: Gatlin won his third Diamond League event of the season

"I would not consider it a fluke," the 2004 Olympic 100m gold medallist and London Games third-place finisher told a news conference ahead of Thursday's start of the US championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

"I would consider it a prelude to something better and greater. I want to have faster, greater competitions against him."

Pipped: Usain Bolt was beaten by 0.01 by American Justin Gatlin (left)
The 31-year-old burst past Bolt in their Diamond League race in Rome last month and hung on for his first ever 100 metres victory over the Jamaican.

Some have called the rare loss a blip in Bolt's preparations for August's world championships in Moscow, a race soon to be forgotten.

Not Gatlin.

Jamaican speedsters: Bolt and Blake won't be easy to catch as Gatlin aims to become the best in the world

"I like racing against Usain, (Jamaican world champion) Yohan (Blake) and Tyson," he said. "It is an adrenaline rush."

It is also a major challenge, especially Bolt.

Unsure: The Jamaican wasn't too certain why he couldn't translate a good start into a good finish

At 6 feet 5 inches, the lanky Jamaican can rapidly gobble up metres of space, producing times in the 100 and 200 metres many never thought possible.

"Some people probably think it is impossible to beat him when he is at his peak performance," Gatlin said. "You just have to make sure you make someone like him feel as uncomfortable as possible in a race strategy.

Finding form: Bolt will have to improve to stand any chance of beating other rivals Tyson Gay and Yohan Blake

"He is usually clear of the field at 60 metres, so you have got to make sure that when he looks over he can see you at 60 meters and you are still going on with him."

Their next likely clash will be the world championships in Moscow, and Gatlin will attempt to set the stage for a potential rematch when he competes in the US championships which double as the world trials.

Are you watching Usain? Gatlin was in stunning form during Olympic trials

Only the top three finishers in the cut-throat competition qualify for the worlds, with the 100 metres likely coming down to a showdown between 2004 Olympic gold medallist Gatlin and former world champion Tyson Gay, whom Gatlin edged out for an Olympic medal in London.

"When he is healthy, he is definitely one of the most dangerous sprinters that you can compete against," Gatlin said of Gay.

But it is Bolt who is the man with the target on his back.

"His races are bigger than life. His persona is bigger than life," Gatlin said.

Six times an Olympic gold medallist, "he is only going to run in big championships very fast," said Gatlin, who takes pride in his win over Bolt but knows it was not an all-encompassing victory.

"You have to continuously beat someone, especially in our field, to be able to feel like you have really beaten them," the American said. "A one-off in our field is considered a fluke."


  1. This Gatlin just likes to run his mouth.. jus because of 1 win in 1 million races