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'History man' Gatlin grabs golden double

11 August 2005

Justin Gatlin of USA celebrates after winning the men's 200m final. (AFP) Justin Gatlin of USA celebrates after winning the men's 200m final. (AFP)
Justin Gatlin of the United States added the men's 200 metres title to his 100m crown at the world athletics championships.

The 23-year-old Olympic 100m champion timed 20.04 seconds to lead a United States cleansweep as Wallace Spearmon took silver (20.20sec) and defending champion John Capel the bronze as he ran a season's personal best in 20.31sec.

Another American Tyson Gay was fourth.

"I am here to make history. It was a powerful race and a great victory for us (the Americans). I want to show the world that I am champion!" said Gatlin.

"I was a bit scared coming off the bend because I didn't know how the other guys were doing but I put my technique together and ran a fast race.

"Two down and one to go," added the champion who now wants a third gold in the relay and emulate compatriot Maurice Greene's feat in the 1999 championships.

Gatlin, who took bronze in the event in the Olympics, blew away his rivals - after looking less than at ease in the preceding rounds - running a superb bend.

From then on it was a race for the minor medals among the three other Americans as Gatlin strode imperiously to almost as easy a victory as he had experienced in the 100m.

Capel fought tooth and nail to get into the medals and eventually hauled in Gay while the latter's training partner Spearmon, the fastest man in the world this season over the distance, held on for the silver.

Spearmon admitted he had given up all hope of winning once he saw the way Gatlin was going.

"This was a typically fantastic race," said the 20-year-old.

"When I saw Justin to my right I knew I was only competing for second place but I am happy with my medal because this is my first major championships."

There were to be no special celebrations for the American youngster, however.

"I don't really party," he admitted.

"I think I will go to my room and call everybody at home and tell them what I have just achieved."

Capel said he was proud of the manner he had defended his title.

"We are big time Americans as this hasn't happened in the history of the sport," said the two-time NFL flop.

"I am happy to be a part of something great. I think I am still young enough to compete at this level, I am only 26. However these younger guys get faster and faster," added Capel, who had come into the championships rated fourth of the Americans and here only because he was the defending champion.

Gay failed to live up to his performances in the preceding rounds but was still happy with his performance in the final.

"I don't think I ran the bend too hard it is just that I ran out of gas," said the 22-year-old.

"I am a little disappointed not to have won a medal but such is life."

Three-time finalist Stephane Buckland finished fifth while much hyped Jamaican teenager Usain Bolt rounded off a nightmare series for him as the 18-year-old finished last.

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