Bolt and Gatlin look headed for May clash

Wed Apr 8, 2015 1:49pm EDT
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By Gene Cherry

(Reuters) - A mouthwatering showdown between Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin could be a month away as the two rival sprinters are set to compete at next month's IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas.

Gatlin's participation in the May 2-3 event was confirmed on Wednesday in a text message to Reuters by the sprinter's manager a day after the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association said Bolt will also compete in Nassau.

While Bolt and Gatlin's confirmation for the event offers a chance for the sprinters to clash, much will depend on how the Jamaican and U.S. coaches line up their squads in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.

Both Bolt and Gatlin anchored their countries' 4x100 teams at the 2013 Moscow world championships with Jamaica triumphing.

As for a much anticipated race over 100 or 200 meters, that may have to wait until August's world championships in Beijing.

When asked on Wednesday about the likelihood of a meeting before then, Bolt's manager, Ricky Simms, told Reuters via email:

"I don't know where the other sprinters are running but I believe many meets would prefer not to invite athletes who bring negative headlines to their event."

Simms was referring to athletes who have served doping suspensions, including Gatlin whose racing has sparked major criticism in Europe despite him being eligible to compete.   Continued...

Usain Bolt of Jamaica (R) runs next to Justin Gatlin of the U.S. on his way to win the men's 100 metres during the IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting, also known as Memorial Van Damme, in Brussels September 6, 2013.   REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule