Sports

Show some respect, Gatlin

Usain Bolt has reignited his rivalry with fellow sprinter Justin Gatlin, accusing the American of "disrespect", just two weeks before the Rio Olympics.

Brushing aside any concerns about the hamstring injury which forced him to withdraw from his country's Olympic trials earlier this month, the Jamaican sprint king ran a solid time of 19.89sec in his first competitive 200m of this season in London yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The 29-year-old Bolt, a six-time Olympic champion, had received a medical exemption to miss the Jamaican trials - sparking claims from Gatlin and a number of United States sprinters who said he had preferential treatment that he would not receive were he American.

Bolt laughed off the criticism led by Gatlin, who has served two bans for doping.

"For me, I felt it was a joke, I felt it was a disrespect they think I'd back out of the trials," he said.

"I've proven myself year on year that I'm the greatest.

"I laughed when I heard it. I was disappointed, especially in Justin Gatlin."

Gatlin, 34, who took silver behind Bolt at last year's world championships in the 100m and 200m, has been one of Bolt's most consistent rivals in recent years.

Speaking to reporters at the US Olympic trials in Eugene earlier this month, Gatlin said he was in no doubt that Bolt would be fit to run at the Olympics, which begin on Aug 5.

"At the end of the day, when you command a certain power in track and field, sometimes you can exercise it," he said, alluding to preferential treatment for Bolt.

"That's what's happening right now - he's injured, he has a medical pass, that's what his country does."

Bolt (right) looked like he has work to do if he is to complete the famed triple-triple in Rio.

He was short of sharpness in every aspect in the 200m race yesterday morning.

His usual late surge was absent and he had to battle all the way to the line for a time of 19.89, considerably shy of American LaShawn Merritt's season-leading 19.74.

Panama's Edward Alonso was second in 20.04, with Briton Adam Gemili third in 20.07.

Bolt, who turns 30 next month, travels to Rio in search of a third successive gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.

"I tried to hold my form. I'm not fully in shape, I need more work, but I will be fine," he said.

"I'm feeling good and happy I could run and finish the race without any injuries." - Wire Services.

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