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World Champion Justin Gatlin Now In Pretoria

World 100m champion Justin Gatlin will compete in the Athletix Grand Prix Series in Pretoria next month.

The 35-year-old American won the 2017 world 100m championships, outpacing Usain Bolt.

When the news broke that Gatlin will race in South Africa, many started predicting an Akani Simbini-Gatlin showdown on 1 March.

But their hopes were shattered when it was announced that Gatlin would run the 150m, which made it impossible for him to race Simbine, who only specialised in the 100m.

According to reports, the American chose the 150m race to avoid the Tuks athlete.

Simbine outsprinted Gatlin at Doha last year to his first Diamond League gold medal.

Gatlin is the fifth-fastest human being ever in the 100m and 200m and won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, but his career took a major downturn in 2006 when he was banned for eight years for doping.

He later returned to competition at the 2012 London Olympics, finishing third behind Bolt and Yohan Blake.

He got his revenge on Bolt at the 2015 world athletics championships, where he, Tyson Gay, Mike Rodgers and Ryan Bailey representing the US defeated Bolt’s Jamaica in the 4x100m relay final.

In December 2017, the Athletics SA launched the ASA Athletix Grand Prix Series, hoping to bring the best national athletes together.

World champion Wayde van Niekerk (400m), currently recovering from injury as well as Caster Semenya, who won a gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro, were expected to compete in the series alongside Luvo Manyonga (long jump) and world number three Ruswahl Samaai (long jump,).

The series will take place in Johannesburg (Thursday, 1 March), Pretoria (Thursday, 8 March) and Paarl (Thursday, 22 March).


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