Sprinter Justin Gatlin has stated that the prospect of one last race against Usain Bolt is the driving force behind his attempt to secure a spot in the US team for August’s World Championships.
Speaking to reporters Gatlin said, “For me, when I made my comeback into the sport, I said to myself, ‘I just want to be shoulder to shoulder with him. Watching him run in the Olympics in 2008, when I was sitting at a restaurant, I said to myself, ‘I want to run with that guy. There’s no fear — just a total respect for how fast he is, the competition he brings. So I want to make it to these last finals.”
However, a series of injuries has hampered Gatlin during his training. “It set me back a couple of weeks, about three weeks. So I’ve just been clawing to get back to where I needed to be,” Gatlin said and added, “It would be the toughest year for me. But it would be an honor to get through and show the fortitude that I have.”
Meanwhile, Gatlin had special praise for 21-year-old Christian Coleman and said, “He’s a great athlete. It’s almost like deja vu. He did all the same things I did when I was at college — I broke the 200m collegiate record, he broke the 100m collegiate record. He’s just focused and hungry.”
“I talk to him every other week. He’s still my competitor, but I’m proud of him. I just want to see him do the best that he can do.”