Gatlin, Bartoletta Star At Japan Golden Grand Prix

KAWASAKI, Japan — Justin Gatlin won the men’s 100m and Tianna Bartoletta picked up a pair of wins at the Golden Grand Prix – an IAAF World Challenge meeting on Sunday (8).

Running in a slight headwind of -0.4 m/s, Gatlin posted a season’s best time of 10.02 seconds to beat Japan’s Ryota Yamagata, who clocked 10.21 and Ramon Gittens of Barbados, 10.26.

“The race felt good,” the 2004 Olympic champion from Athens, said. “I knew that I was going to have a headwind after practice yesterday.

“I talked to my coach over the phone and he told me to just go through and have a good start and finish the race.”

The American, who is hoping to be ready to challenge the world’s best, including world record holder Usain Bolt, at the Rio Olympic Games later this summer, says after making a few fast starts over the last couple of seasons, he will be taking a slower approach in this campaign.

“My coach wants me to just ease myself into the season,” Gatlin, who ran a wind-aided 9.90secs in Nassau last month, told reporters on Sunday. “We have a long season ahead of us.

“Olympic trials will hopefully be a mirror image of the Olympics so I’m gonna be running a lot and I don’t want to start the season so fast with such high intensity.”

Meanwhile, another American, Tianna Bartoletta, picked up first place in the women’s 100m and the long jump at the meeting.

The World Championships long jump gold medallist, won that event with a mark of 6.61 meters – beating Brooke Stratton of Australia who did 6.55m and Xu Xiaoling of China, 6.47m

Bartoletta also ran 11.23 secs to win the 100m ahead of Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria who did 11.30 and USA’s World Indoor 60m champion Barbara Pierre, 11.40.

“I’m comfortable here; it’s a good place for me to kind of know where I’m at as an athlete going into the season,” said Bartoletta.

“We hope to see the same thing (in Rio) but this meet is perfect, because my Olympic Trials schedule is almost just like this schedule.”

In another field event competition, China’s Zhang Guowei and Wang Yu both cleared a world-leading height of 2.33m in the men’s high jump competition, with Guowei coming out on top after taking just one attempt at the height, while his countryman needed all three tries to set his personal best.

Another world-leading mark came in the men’s Javelin Throw where Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch established a new personal best mark of 86.76m to win again in Kawasaki.

World champion Shawn Barber of Canada won the pole vault after clearing 5.62m, the same as Japan’s Daichi Sawano and Seito Yamamoto, while Canadian Aaron Brown won the men’s 200m in 20.32, USA’s Erik Sowinski took the men’s 800m in 1:45.92, Ethiopian Tigat Assefa Tessema set a meeting record of 2:00.66 to win the women’s race, while Xie Wenjun of China easily won the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.36.

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