Gatlin the form horse but don't write off Bolt: Greene

Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:56am EDT
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By Gene Cherry

BEIJING (Reuters) - In-form American Justin Gatlin should beat Usain Bolt to win both the sprints at the world championships but it would be foolhardy to write off the Jamaican, three-times world 100 meters world champion Maurice Greene said on Friday.

Bolt has dominated the 100m and 200m at major championships since winning both in world record times at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, only a false start in the short sprint final at the 2011 world championships preventing him from a clean sweep.

Joint problems have hampered the 29-year-old's season, however, and he returns to the Bird's Nest stadium for the 100m heats on Saturday with best times of 9.87 and 20.13 seconds for each sprint.

Gatlin, although he has yet to go head-to-head with Bolt this year and has beaten the Jamaican only once in seven attempts over the 100m, has not been beaten in either sprint for two years.

The 33-year-old owns the best times of the year in both events with a personal best of 9.74 in 100m and 19.57 in the 200m.

"Right now, if I have to go by what's happening right now you would say Justin is going to win," Greene told Reuters.

"But the biggest problem is you never know what Usain is going to come out with because, you have to remember, he's been where nobody has been before.

"So who knows if he's going to come back with something like that? It's very well possible so you can never count him out.   Continued...

Justin Gatlin from the U.S. celebrates after winning the men's 100 meters event during the Golden Gala IAAF Diamond League at the Olympic stadium in Rome, Italy June 4, 2015. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito