Gatlin: I can defend my title
Reigning World 100 metre-champion, Justin Gatlin believes he can defend his title when Doha hosts the 17th World Championships next year. Gatlin, 36, thinks his experience in big meets will count when the starter raises his pistol.
"I think I am the man when it comes to the moment," said Gatlin this week. "So, when the moment arrives, I think if I am prepared for it, I would bet on myself."
A win in Doha would be his third in the 100m, after gold medals in 2005 and 2017, and his fourth overall, when his 200-metre win in 2005 is included. Usain Bolt, in 2009, 2013, and 2015, and Carl Lewis in 1983, 1987, and 1991, are the only men to win the 100 metres three times at the World Championships.
"I think that my experience will be able to help me a little more than my other opponents," he said.
Like all other 2017 World Champions, he has a bye into the first round of his event for next year.
Gatlin is now training in Florida with a group that includes Omar McLeod, Jamaica's World and Olympic 110-metres hurdles champion and 23-year-old Bahamian Steven Gardiner, the world 400 metres runner-up.
"I need training partners to gauge myself off of, so once I get into a competition, it won't be a foreign element to me," Gatlin said.
The American, who has won World and Olympic individual medals since returning in 2010 from a drug ban, has strength at the foundation of his training. "The biggest thing is when age kicks in you are not going to get faster, you can get stronger. You have to go at it that way."
In the meantime, two-time World 100-metre finalist, Daniel Bailey of Antigua and Barbuda has retired from big-championship competition.
"I am not going to finish fully, but I will hang up my spikes from certain competitions", Bailey told the Antigua and Barbuda Daily Observer earlier this week. Based for several years in Jamaica at the Racers Track Club. Bailey, 32, who is looking to get involved in coaching, cited the high cost of preparing for big championships as a key reason for his decision.