Gatlin, Gay, wary of struggling Bolt
EUGENE, United States (CMC):
America's top sprinters, Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay, are not prepared to write off Usain Bolt just yet as they conspire to dethrone him at the World Championships in Beijing, China, in August.
Bolt, who qualifies for the 100m and 200m at the World Championships automatically as the defending champion in both events, has struggled for form this season.
But both Gatlin and Gay are convinced the Jamaican superstar will be at his best when it matters, August 22-30 in Beijing.
"You never know until you cross the finish line," Gatlin said. "I think everybody's going to be ready and prepared."
Bolt, the 100m and 200m world-record holder, has only managed best times of 10.12 seconds and 20.13 seconds, respectively, over the two distances this year.
His decision not to compete at the just-concluded Jamaican National Senior Championships has also served to heighten concerns about his fitness level.
However, Gay said the best approach was to prepare to face Bolt at his best.
"Right now, I'm not paying attention to Usain Bolt," Gay said. "He's a championship performer. He'll be ready when it counts."
Gatlin holds the top time in the world this year in the 100m with a 9.74-second clocking, while Gay has clocked 9.87 seconds.
Bolt, however, has yet to break 10 seconds in a 100 in 2015 or 20 seconds in the 200m.
Gatlin and Gay will lead a strong US sprint contingent to the World Championships, aiming to wrest the coveted 100m crown from Jamaica's grasp.
The once-dominant Americans have not won a global 100m title since 2007 - when Gay won both the 100m and 200m World titles.