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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July, 2005, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Gatlin ready to dominate sprint
By Sarah Holt

Olympic champion Justin Gatlin
Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin insists he is the man to beat at Friday's London Grand Prix and at next month's World Championships.

Jamaican Asafa Powell owns the three fastest times this season - including the world record - but Gatlin says that has not taken the heat off him.

"He feels what I feel now - you have a target on your back," said Gatlin.

"We are trying to switch roles. I want to be a world record holder and he wants to be Olympic or World champion."

The two go head-to-head at Crystal Palace on Friday for the first time since Powell broke the world record in June.

Powell has beaten Gatlin over the distance on American soil this year but the Jamaican is struggling with a groin injury and question marks remain over his fitness in London.

"I know he won't step on the line unless he's 100%, especially against a strong field in London," Gatlin said.

"I hope he gets well. He's a very worthy opponent and a great competitor.

"But this season has been very good for me I've been pretty dominant and more aggressive, so hopefully I'll go out there and give 100% too."

Gatlin finished a disappointing sixth place at Crystal Palace last season as Powell laid down his Olympic credentials by storming to victory in 9.91 seconds.

When I go out there, I really don't think about the money, I don't think about my competitors - I just think how fast can I get to the finish line?
Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin

But their fortunes were reversed in Athens and Gatlin wants to make sure he uses the London meet as a springboard for success at the Worlds in Helsinki.

"This is a good stepping stone for the world championships," said the 23-year-old American.

"It's good preparation for the eight or nine races I'll have in Helsinki and I aim to tune myself up for a good race.

"Right now I'm testing the waters. I'm still young so I have to go out there and take the reins and dominate the field.

"It feels good to have a sub-10 under my belt this season (9.96) and hopefully I can keep going down and get a world record by the end of this year.

"When I go out there, I really don't think about the money, I don't think about my competitors.

"I just think how fast can I get to the finish line? How good is my technique?

"And hopefully everything will fall in line and if I win then I'll get the jackpot."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin



SEE ALSO
Gatlin cruises to Rome sprint win
08 Jul 05 |  Athletics
Gatlin claims US Championship win
25 Jun 05 |  Athletics


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