Usain Bolt claims he is not opposed to racing America’s former world and Olympic 100 metres champion Justin Gatlin when the drugs cheat ends his four-year ban in July.
“Yeah, definitely, I’ve always said that as long as you’re at the line with me, you’re my competitor, so I’m going to take you very seriously like Dwain Chambers last year,” Bolt said.
The 23-year-old sprinter who won three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and last year’s World Championships in Berlin, was reacting to the challenge of Gatlin. “So for me, as long as you’re at the line I’m willing to race,” Bolt added.
Gatlin said he is targeting Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell. Gatlin’s drug cheating rocked the sporting world because he was always so outspoken about cheaters. He used to do the sign of the cross all the time on the track which made him even more believable as a ‘clean’ athlete.
“I could beat them before. I don’t see why I can’t run with them now,” Gatlin, 28 next month, said after a training session in Naples, Florida. “Times don’t scare me.’
However, Bolt, who walked away with the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association’s male athlete of the year award for the second consecutive time last Friday, is warning Gatlin that he will find things different on his return.
“Well, I think he may find it a little bit different from the last time he actually was here because I think the game has really stepped up a lot and there’s a lot of up coming guys who he may count out, but these guys are going to step up a lot,” Bolt reasoned.
“So I think he’s going to have his hands full, not only by me and Asafa and Tyson, but other young and upcoming athletes, but it should be good and more competition is better for the sport, so I’m looking forward to it.
“Training has been the same as last year. I’ve had some ups and downs because of the whole thing of not being in training a lot, but I’m trying to catch up now like last year and I think I’m doing a pretty good job, working hard, trying to do a little overtime…so I’m getting there.’