Gatlin wins 200m in blazing 19.57 at U.S. trials

Sun Jun 28, 2015 7:22pm EDT
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By Gene Cherry

EUGENE, Oregon - Controversial Justin Gatlin set the stage for a world championship showdown with Usain Bolt when he won the 200 meters in a blazing 19.57 seconds at the U.S. trials in Oregon on Sunday.

Only four people, including world record holder Bolt, have ever run faster than the 33-year-old, whose previous best was 19.68 seconds.

"I wanted to come out and make a statement, and that's what I did," said the fast starting Gatlin.

Training partner Isiah Young was second in 19.93 with the 30-year-old Wallace Spearmon taking third in 20.10.

The wind was an allowable 0.4 meters per second.

Gatlin, the year's fastest at 100 and 200, had a bye in the 100 at the trials, but plans to challenge Bolt at both distances in the August world championships in Beijing.

They have not met since 2013 with Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, piling up a two-year unbeaten streak.

Olympic champion Jenn Suhr was equally dominate, soaring to the best pole vault performance of the year, 4.82 meters, and Jenna Prandini captured the women's 200m in 22.20 seconds on the University of Oregon track where she competes collegiately.   Continued...

Jun 28, 2015; Eugene, OR, USA; Justin Gatlin celebrates after winning the 200m in a meet record 19.57 in the 2015 USA Championships at  Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports