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Gatlin's message to the world

CAMERA MAN: Justin Gatlin of the U.S. celebrates after winning the men's 100m

AMERICAN SPRINTER Justin Gatlin promised something special in the Qatar and what he left with was a new personal best, the joint sixth fastest time in history and a message that no doubt has been received.

In a blur of blue, the divisive figure, who these days seem to fall somewhere between ‘good guy’ and ‘bad guy’ after serving two drug bans, showed that he can also do some talking on the track, running a staggering 9.74 seconds to win the men’s 100m at the Doha Diamond League meet inside the Qatar Sports Club.

Truth is, it was never a contest.

Jamaica’s own Nesta Carter got left behind in the block and became a spectator like everyone else, crossing the line in sixth place (10.07) as Gatlin had the crowd pointing to the clock as he crossed the line, left hand pointing to the sky, in what is the fastest legal time he has ever recorded.

“He’s (Gatlin) really good,” Carter volunteered after stepping off the track.

For the American, it was important that he sent a message. But to who? Usain Bolt? Displaced world leader Asafa Powell?

Nope; the world, according to Gatlin.

“It was important that I came out here and showed what I can do. It was important that I sent a message to the entire world,” he said to a cluster of tape recorders.

Fellow American Mike Rodgers was second in 9.96 with Trini-man Keston Bledman posting 10.01 for third.

It was also a miserable night for shot put standout O’Dayne Richards, who came into the meet looking to improve on his 20.48m season’s best, was only good enough for eight place on the night, with a best mark of 19.89m out of only two legal throws.

“I think the officials called fouls that were in my opinion ridiculous but I can’t control that, I can only do my best,” he consoled himself.

The event went to German David Storl (21.51m), who finished ahead of Reese Hoffa (USA) 21.30 and Ryan Whiting (USA), 21.06m.

AGONY: Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia, right, staves off GB's Mo Farah

Stephenie – Ann McPherson, 50.93 (season best) was the best finisher among the Jamaicans at the meet, with a third place run behind the powerful looking American pair of Francena McCorory, 50.21 and Sanya Richards-Ross, 50.79. Defending Diamond League champion Novlene Williams-Mills was fourth in 51.28 with Christine Day running sixth in a season best 51.53.

In other highlights, Jasmin Stowers (USA) continued to amaze in the 100m hurdles, lowering her world leading mark to 12.35 to beat a packed field including Olympic champions Sally Pearson and Dawn Harper Nelson. Sharika Nelvis (USA) was the surprise in second place with 12.54 as Great Britain’s Tiffany Porter, 12.65 took third.

“This is amazing! Beating these great champions. I just want to ensure that I remain consistent throughout the year,” Stowers said

Bershawn Jackson is the man to beat so far this season, racking up his fourth straight win in the 400m hurdles with a 48.09 time, the fastest time in the world in 2015, while Allyson Felix won her 11th straight race in Doha, outpowering the women’s 200m field with a world leading 21.98 seconds effort.

Pablo Pichardo (Cuba), 18.06m and Christian Taylor (USA), 18.04m produced the third and fourth best jumps in history in a nail-biting men’s triple jump showdown as the recently returned Frenchman Teddy Tamgho, who seemed to hurt himself, took third place with 17.24m.

In the men’s 3000m, the top billed Mo Farah left it a little too late and was beaten to the line by Ethiopia’s Agos Gebrhiwet in a world leading 7:38.08 with the Brit bearing down on him in 7:38.22.

The IAAF Diamond League series moves on to Shanghai in China on tomorrow (May 17).

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