DOHA — American sprinter Justin Gatlin returned to top form with a sizzling run in Doha and then took a dig at his Jamaican rivals Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake on Friday.
Gatlin, who recently returned from a four year ban – clocked 9.87 seconds to win the 100 metres dash at the Doha Diamond League meeting – a time which is the third fastest in the world this year.
Only world record holder Bolt, who has a seasonal best of 9.82 seconds and world champion Blake’s 9.84secs have gone quicker, legally, than Gatlin this season, but the American said his performance Friday night is better.
“They were at home while I’m far away from home,” Gatlin told reporters after his win.
“I’ve proved I can run very well anywhere.”
The 2004 Olympic 100m champion didn’t get off to the best of starts, but once again showed his top end speed over the final 40-metres to pull even with Jamaican former world record holder Asafa Powell and then out-leaned him at the tape.
He commented: “Races like these show who’s a competitor and who’s just a runner. I like coming out here and competing.
“Even if Asafa is better than me in the middle phase, I’m going to come back some time at the end and get him.”
It will be interesting to see the American championships where Gatlin will face the likes of American record holder Tyson Gay and the ever reliable Walter Dix.
Bolt holds the world record over the 100m at 9.58secs, which he set at the 2009 Berlin World Championships.