IOWA, US – Olympic bronze medalist Justin Gatlin is not willing to call his surprising 100m victory over world record holder Usain Bolt a fluke.
Report by Reuters
The American sprinter prefers to think of last month’s triumph as the opening act of a journey that will bring him and Bolt together again on a much larger stage later this year, he said on Wednesday.
“I would not consider it a fluke,” the 2004 Olympic 100m gold medalist and London Games third-place finisher told a news conference ahead of yesterday’s start of the US championships in Des Moines, Iowa, US. I would consider it a prelude to something better and greater. I want to have faster, greater competitions against him.”
The 31-year-old burst past Bolt in their Diamond League race in Rome, Italy, last month and hung on for his first ever 100m 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.
“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.
At 1,96m, the lanky Jamaican can rapidly gobble up metres of space, producing times in the 100m and 200m 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.
“He is usually clear of the field at 60m, so you have got to make sure that when he looks over he can see you at 60m 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.