Gatlin jolt for Bolt

Justin Gatlin beat Usain Bolt by one-hundredth of a second on Thursday to win the 100 metres at the Golden Gala meet — the Jamaican’s first significant loss since his false-start disqualification at the 2011 World Championships in South Korea.
Gatlin was timed in 9.94 seconds and was restrained in his celebration, just clapping his hands rapidly. The American has won all five of his 100-metre races this year and is shaping up as a serious threat to Bolt at the World Championships in Moscow in August.
“This year I just want to be able to put together a better race, give him some competition when he’s at his top form, to make it a more epic race,” Gatlin said. “He’s a legend, he’s done great things and I just want to go out there and just fight to the end.”
Bolt briefly covered his face with his hands after the race, then saluted the crowd. After things settled down, Bolt went over and shook Gatlin’s hand and congratulated him. “For me it is just going through the season,” Bolt said. “Put things together for the World Championships. The season is still very early.”
Bolt, the world-record holder and six-time Olympic champion, struggled in the first 50 metres despite his strong start. He started to gain ground on Gatlin near the finish but would have needed a bit more track to overtake him.
“That was ridiculous — a perfect start and then I just cropped off,” he said. “I think it was this perfect start that threw my game off. I have to do more strength work, I guess. I think it needs just some time to get it all back together. At the end it was just not me.”
On a delightful spring evening before a Stadio Olimpico crowd of 52,305, Bolt was second in 9.95 and Jimmy Vicaut of France third in 10.02.
This was Gatlin’s third Diamond League win in the 100 this year. He ran 9.97 seconds in Doha, Qatar, and a wind-aided 9.88 in Eugene, Oregon, last weekend. The wind this time was well within the limit.
Gatlin was racing Bolt for the first time since last year’s London Olympics final, which was the fastest final in track history. Bolt won in 9.63 — 0.05 off his world record from 2009. Yohan Blake took the silver in 9.75, with Gatlin the bronze medalist in 9.79 and Tyson Gay fourth in 9.80.
That was Gatlin’s first major medal since his career was derailed in 2006 by a positive drug test that led to a four-year ban. Gatlin was the reigning Olympic champion when he tested positive, having won the 100 at the 2004 Athens Games.
Bolt will next run the 200 at the next Diamond League meet in Oslo, Norway, next week.

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