Gatlin on track with Shanghai 100m win

The 34-year-old veteran, who has been dogged by controversy for previously failing two dope tests, set his fastest time of the year in Shanghai, running 9.94sec.

Justin Gatlin of the U.S. celebrates winning the Men's 100m at the IAAF Athletics Diamond League meeting in Shanghai.   -  REUTERS

US sprinter Justin Gatlin sailed to victory in the men's 100-metres at the Shanghai Diamond league on Saturday, carrying him one step closer to an Olympic showdown with his great rival Usain Bolt.

The 34-year-old veteran, who has been dogged by controversy for previously failing two dope tests, set his fastest time of the year in Shanghai, running 9.94sec, but falling short of Femi Ogunode's 9.91sec, the fastest time so far this year.

Gatlin is seeking to dust himself off after double disappointment at the World Championships last year, where after leading in the 100 and 200 metres he lost both races to Jamaica's Bolt, adding extra spice to their expected meeting in Rio.

The American, who was favoured to win in Shanghai, said after the race that a winter ankle injury had made preparations "difficult".

"I came out here to execute and I know being an Olympic year, it is a long season and my coach and I have a plan. He is training me like Mike Tyson to knock out the opposition and keep swinging."

Gatlin has failed two dope tests during his career but has returned to competition and also represented the United States at the 2012 Olympics.

He declined to confirm whether Rio 2016 would be his last Olympics appearance, saying: "If I go in thinking this is my last Olympics, I'm already gonna start thinking about winding down, and I want to stay aggressive."

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