Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 2nd 2016 Contents ROME---Justin Gatlin s Olympic
season is going exactly according
In four 100-metre races, the
American sprinter has shown steady
It started with three performances
in Asia: 10.02 seconds in Kawasaki,
Japan, then 9.94 in Shanghai and
again 9.94 in Beijing. Then at Sat-
urday s Prefontaine Classic in
Eugene, Oregon, Gatlin clocked 9.88
with the help of a tail wind.
Gatlin s next challenge comes
today at the Golden Gala Pietro
Mennea meet in Rome, where he ll
attempt to improve on his track
record of 9.75 established last year.
A fifth win in the Italian capital
would also break a tie with Maurice
Greene for most 100 victories at
"It s been a pretty good start. It s
a softer start than last year but that s
all designed and planned that way,"
Gatlin said yesterday. "Even with a
softer start, I still seem to have a
good record going into the season.
I m undefeated. So hopefully I can
carry that on."
In Eugene, Gatlin appeared to
hesitate midway through his race.
"I m still coming back from my
ankle injury so my transition some-
times around 50 or 70 (metres) gets
a little sticky, when I m trying to
put more pressure into the ground
and get a little bit more speed," he
explained, referring to an injury in
the offseason. "But I have time over
the next month to get everything
worked out and ready for the
Before an anticipated showdown
with world-record holder Usain Bolt
at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro,
Gatlin has to qualify at the US trials
After Rome, he ll head to Rio for
a street race and then will shut
down on competition for a while
to work on speed endurance---which
should also aid his preparation for
the 200 metres.
"I will open up the 200 season
at the trials, so my first race will be
in the first round at trials," Gatlin
As at nearly every meet, Gatlin
couldn t avoid a question related to
his doping past. The 2004 Olympic
100 gold medalist tested positive
for excessive testosterone in 2006,
was reinstated from his ban in 2010,
and returned to capture bronze at
the London Games two years later.
So is he getting tired of being
treated like a villain?
"It s hurtful," he said. "Because
that s not how I portray myself,
that s not how my son portrays me
and my family. When I make my
victory lap I stop and sign every
autograph, I take every picture I
can. I give back to communities
around the world as much as I can.
And I don t think everyone does
Gatlin usually gets a warm recep-
tion in Rome, where he beat Bolt
by a hundredth of a second in 2013.
Bolt hasn t been back since.
"That was kind of like a launching
pad, for me to be able to say, OK,
I can get up here and I can start
dominating again, " Gatlin said.
Gatlin s opponents today will
include European record holder
Jimmy Vicaut of France and Asian
record holder Femi Ogunode of
Another sprinting standout com-
peting is Wayde van Niekerk in the
400. The South African is the first
athlete to run the 100 under ten
seconds, the 200 under 20 seconds
and the 400 under 44 seconds.
"I m really a big lover of the 1
and 2, that s why I fell in love with
the sport and that s why I do what
I do today," Van Niekerk said. "But
at this moment I m fully focused
on the 400."
In June, the reigning 400 world
champion plans to train with Bolt.
"We both have good relationships
with coach (Glen) Mills. I m
extremely excited to learn and pick
up some good tips for myself," Van
World record attempts are
expected from Almaz Ayana of
Ethiopia in the women s 5,000 and
from a strong field in the men s
3,000 steeplechase that features the
top four finishers from last year s
teammates Ezekiel Kemboi, Cons-
eslus Kipruto, Brimin Kipruto and
Also, Olympic long jump cham-
pion Greg Rutherford will face the
four men who have jumped further
than him this season---Marquise
Goodwin of the United States, who
tops the 2016 list at 8.45 metres,
Ruswahl Samaai of South Africa
(8.38), Mike Hartfield of the United
States (8.34) and Fabrice Lapierre
of Australia (8.31).
Rutherford s best this year is 8.30.
"Nothing is ever won in April or
May," the British jumper said.
"When it comes to major champi-
onships I can perform, generally, if
I m fit and healthy." (AP)
Thursday, June 2, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Justin Gatlin, right, wins the men's 100 metres ahead of Asafa Powell and
Tyson Gay at the Prefontaine Classic track and field meet Saturday in
Eugene, Oregon. AP PHOTO
Gatlin can match Greene with fifth win
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