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Gatlin praises new talent despite competitive threat

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Justin Gatlin of the US reacts after winning the men's 100 metres athletics event during the Seiko Golden Grand Prix at Todoroki Stadium in Kawasaki on May 8, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI

Justin Gatlin of the US reacts after winning the men’s 100 metres athletics event during the Seiko Golden Grand Prix at Todoroki Stadium in Kawasaki on May 8, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI

US sprinter Justin Gatlin on Thursday praised the new generation of track competitors, particularly fellow American Trayvon Bromell, as the 34-year-old veteran preps for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Gatlin, who won the 100 metres gold at the 2004 Games in Athens, said he was readying for the US trials with his eye on the 20-year-old who swept to victory in the 60m at the World Indoor Athletics Championships in March.

“I believe that Trayvon Bromell is a huge talent, still in the making,” he told a news conference in Shanghai ahead of the Diamond League meeting in China’s commercial hub on Saturday.

“I definitely can’t count him out, but I can’t anybody else out who’s going to line up against us for the Olympic trials. They’ll be ready too.”

Bromell took the bronze medal in the 100m at the World Championships in Beijing last August, when he finished behind Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt and Gatlin — who also lost to Bolt in the 200m.

Asked about his arch-rival, Gatlin said: “Now I’m training to be a better athlete, make sure I stay focused within myself when it comes to competition.”

“I hope that it will turn around for me when it comes to Rio ’16,” he said.

Gatlin has failed two dope tests during his career but has returned to competition and also represented the United States at the 2012 Olympics.

Fresh from a 100 metre victory in Japan earlier this month, Gatlin played down worries over an ankle injury last year and said he was pacing himself early in the season.

“I don’t want to get too burnt out before the season even kicks off to the important part where I need to be at my top form,” he said.

In Shanghai, he will face US compatriot and world finalist Mike Rodgers in the 100m.


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