Who says the old man still can’t run?
Olympic silver medalist Justin Gatlin stormed to the lead in the final 20 meters and defeated favored youngster Christian Coleman in the 100 meters final at the U.S. nationals/world championships trials on Friday.
Gatlin, 35, claimed the victory in 9.95 seconds in his best performance of an injury-plagued season.
Coleman, 21, clocked 9.98 for second with another newcomer Chris Belcher, 23, running 10.06 to complete the U.S. team for August’s world championships in London.
“It was a fighting moment,” Gatlin said. “It wasn’t the spectacular times that you have seen me run in the last couple of years but it was a time where I needed to fight.”
The victory earned Gatlin a chance to compete against rival and world record holder Usain Bolt one more time.
The Jamaican is retiring after the 100 meters at the world championships.
Coleman, who has the year’s fastest time of 9.82 seconds, said his reaching for the finish line caused him to lose momentum in the side-by-side race with Gatlin, his mentor.
“Up until the lean it could have gone either way,” said Coleman, whose reported million dollar sponsorship deal was announced on Friday.
He confirmed the contract was for three years but would specify the figure.
His agent, HSI Sports Agency, had tweeted “Christian Coleman becomes a 7 figure man!” Reuters could not confirm the figure.
Another of America’s young sprinters, U.S. indoor champion Ronnie Baker, was eliminated in the semi-finals.
Double Olympic medalist Tori Bowie won the women’s 100 in 10.94 seconds.
She was joined on the team for London by two Oregon collegians, Deajah Stevens and Ariana Washington.
World 400 meters champion Allyson Felix, who was running the 100 for speed work, finished last in 11.28. She has a wild card to the 400 for London.
World record holder Keni Harrison showed she was fully recovered from a broken hand, running the fastest 100 meters hurdles in the world this season, 12.54 seconds, despite a head wind in a qualifying race.
Twice Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor, who needed only to appear at the championships to collect a wild card spot for the worlds, intentionally fouled on his only attempt.
Taylor, who trains in Europe, said he had sought to be excused from competing after delivering the best jump of the year, 18.11 meters, last month in Oregon, but was denied.
“It is unfortunate,” said Taylor of not giving a full performance. “Every time I come out to the track I want to put on a show. but this time I have to be smart.”
Olympic silver medalist Will Claye won the event at 17.91 meters.
Trey Hardee, the world champion in 2009 and 2011, won the decathlon with 8,225 points and the 5,000 meters titles went to Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo (13:08.62) and Shelby Houlihan (15:13.87).
(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)