Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Justin Gatlin sounds warning to Bolt

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Former Olympic and world champion Justin Gatlin warned kingpins Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay to brace for a possible defeat when the American sprinter returns from a four-year doping suspension this year.

"I could beat them before. I don't see why I can't run with them now," Gatlin told Reuters in a telephone interview after a training session in Naples, Florida. "Times don't scare me."
Jamaica's Bolt holds the 100 meters world record at 9.58 seconds and the 200 meters record with a time of 19.19, while American Gay is the 100 meters world silver medalist.

Gatlin tested positive in 2006 for banned male sex hormone testosterone but has denied ever knowingly taking any banned substances. He will be eligible to run again on July 25 under the terms of his suspension.

"You've got to respect the times, they are fast times," said Gatlin, who turns 28 in February. "But I feel that if one man can do it, then the next man can do it as well."

Gatlin has personal bests of 9.85 in the 100 and 19.86 in the 200. In 2006 he ran a world-record equaling 9.77 in the 100 but it was wiped out as part of his doping suspension.

He is also the 2004 Olympic 100 meters champion and 200 meters bronze medalist and swept both sprints at the 2005 world championships.

Whether he will ever face Bolt and Gay again is up in the air since major European organizers agreed in principle not to invite athletes like Gatlin and Britain's Dwain Chambers who have served lengthy doping bans.