Updated: Saturday, 10 May 2014 18:37 | By Agence France-Presse

Gatlin ready to battle Gay after comeback

Former Olympic 100-metres champion Justin Gatlin on Saturday said he would give Tyson Gay a run for his money when the fellow US sprinter re-enters competition after a one-year doping ban.


Gatlin ready to battle Gay after comeback

US' Justin Gatlin competes in the men's 100m final at the athletics event during the London 2012 Olympic Games - by Olivier Morin

Last week Gay, the triple 2007 world champion, said he would run again this year after his suspension for testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid in two random out-of-competition tests expires on June 23.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency reduced the ban from two years to one following Gay's cooperation in doping investigations.

Gatlin, 32, himself made a successful comeback in 2010 after a four-year ban following drug tests that showed higher than normal levels of testosterone in his body.

Asked what he felt about the reduced suspension, Gatlin said details of Gay's case were yet to be made public. "I kind of reserve my comments until everything has unfolded."

"But until then, I'll just try to stay focused on my race and if he comes back I'd be ready to compete against him," said the American who was due to compete on Sunday in Tokyo's Seiko Golden Grand Prix, the third leg of the World Challenge, a 15-leg second-tier International Association of Athletics Federations series.

Gatlin, the 2004 Athens Olympic gold medallist, has returned to form after his suspension, grabbing the 100-metre bronze at the 2012 London Olympics when he set his personal best time of 9.79 seconds

He also finished second behind world record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica at the world championships in Moscow last year.

Asked what kind of advice he may give Gay about his comeback, Gatlin said: "I'll just tell him 'watch out' because we are here and really want to run.

"He knows what it takes to be a true competitor. We're not gonna let up... We are not really worried about what's going on off the track. We're focused on what's going on on the track and we are ready to win."

Gatlin said he had always improved himself as he aged. He beat Bolt at the Golden Gala meet in Rome in June last year and clocked 9.85 at the worlds.

"My goal of the year is to beat the previous Justin," he said, when asked if he could improve his personal record, adding he wanted to be faster in 2014 than "the 2013 Justin".

"I'm not worried about other athletes, how they train, what times they run."

His concern is how to "better myself", he said. "I think I'll be just fine going into every competition if I go out with a mindset to beat myself."

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