Gatlin, de Grasse give world c'ships preview

Andre De Grasse and Justin Gatlin running to the finish line in the 4x100m heats during the IAAF World Relays in Nassau. The duo are set to go head to head in the Diamond League season opener in Qatar.
Andre De Grasse and Justin Gatlin running to the finish line in the 4x100m heats during the IAAF World Relays in Nassau. The duo are set to go head to head in the Diamond League season opener in Qatar.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

DOHA • They finished second and third in last year's Olympic 100m final and today Justin Gatlin and Andre de Grasse renew their rivalry in the Diamond League season opener in Qatar.

The race is not the only outstanding event of the Doha curtain raiser, which has added spice given that it takes place ahead the world championships.

Both sprinters will have their eyes on London in August, when they will take on the legendary Usain Bolt in the Jamaican's international farewell.

Canadian de Grasse, 22, is Bolt's heir apparent and has already said that he wants to "spoil" the Jamaican's goodbye to athletics.

De Grasse also claimed silver behind Bolt in the 200m in Rio.

Gatlin has already struck an early season blow, anchoring his American team to victory in the International Association of Athletics Federations World Relays in Nassau last month while de Grasse's Canada bombed out in the final.

The pair will be joined in Doha by former Jamaican 100m world record holder - and last year's Diamond League winner - the evergreen Asafa Powell, 34, and yet another rising star, Akani Simbine.

The South African, 23, ran 9.92sec in March, the second-fastest time of the year so far.

His early-season form has been superb, dipping under 10 seconds five times and winning his country's 100m title ahead of Wayde van Niekerk.

The women's 200m will be contested by the gold and silver medallists from the Rio Games - Jamaica's Elaine Thompson and Dafne Schippers from the Netherlands.

Rio bronze medallist, Tori Bowie from the US, is not in Doha but has already made her presence felt by clocking the year's fastest time so far, 22.09sec.

This year's league is spread over 14 meets in 13 different countries.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2017, with the headline 'Gatlin, de Grasse give world c'ships preview'. Print Edition | Subscribe