Gatlin wins back-to-back IAAF 100m races
Tokyo: Former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin overcame strong headwinds to sprint to his second 100m victory in as many weeks at an IAAF World Challenge meeting in Tokyo on Sunday.
He broke away from the pack halfway through to clock 10.02 seconds with fellow American Mike Rodgers second at 10.11 and Christophe Lemaitre of France third at 10.31 in the Seiko Golden Grand Prix, the third leg of the second-tier tour organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
"It felt windy but after I got past the 50 mark, I just wanted to stay relaxed," said the 2004 Athens Olympic champion, who won his first 100m of the season in 10.11 seconds eight days ago at the Jamaican Invitational, another World Challenge event.
Gatlin, who grabbed the bronze at the 2012 London Olympics and finished second to Jamaica`s world record holder Usain Bolt at last year`s world championships, said he would just try to go faster and "put together a good race" this season.
He is aiming to "get the balance between having a good start like today and finishing hard like I did in Jamaica".
"I want to work on my start and get my feet under me more and build up momentum" like Bolt does, the 32-year-old said. "I want to be able to go out there and do the same thing and I think I`ll be an even more worthy opponent."
There was a moment of suspense when Ukraine`s world champion Bohdan Bondarenko attempted a high-jump world record of 2.46 metres after clearing 2.40 metres in his third try to leave Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov of Russia in second spot at 2.34 metres.
But the 24-year-old kicked up the bar in his first jump and gave up the attempt.
Cuban Javier Sotomayor`s world record of 2.45m has stood unbroken since 1993.
"I have put on my spikes just once since the end of the last season and it was a difficult competition," said Bondarenko, who won the world title with a jump of 2.41 metres, his personal best.
Asked about his rivalry with Ukhov at a time when their two countries are locked in tense relations, Bondarenko said: "Of course, we are rivals when we compete together. But we are very good friends when we are not in competition. I believe the political issue has no impact on our sport at all."