NAIROBI, Kenya – The 2004 Olympic champion Justin Gatlin put retirement on hold despite having to settle for third in the season-closing 100m at the World Athletics continental tour meet in Nairobi.
The 39-year-old American, who has twice been banned for doping, failed to qualify for this year’s Tokyo Games and was hoping to make amends in Kenya.
But he could not match fellow American Trayvon Bromell and the new Kenyan sprint sensation Ferdinand Omanyala in the finish.
“I came from an injury with the hope of getting a win here,” said Gatlin according to AFP, adding he will take a long break to decide his future.
“Hopefully let’s wait and see what’s in store for the new season,” he added when asked if he planned to hang up his spikes.
Bromell, who already had the world’s fastest 100m in the bag this year, bettered his own mark with a 9.76 while Omanyala returned 9.77, the time Bromell had run in April.
For many of the athletes competing, Nairobi was a climax to a long drawn out season which included the Olympics and the Diamond League after numerous events were cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Namibian sprint sensation Christine Mboma overcame four false starts to win her seventh 200m race since Tokyo where she was forced to switch to the shorter distance after being ruled ineligible to compete in the 400m due to increased levels of testosterone.
After a slow start, the Olympic silver medallist stepped up a gear in the 50 metres to breeze past Ivorian Marie Josee and to claim victory in 22.40.
Mboma said she still has to perfect her technique to become more competitive.
“I am not perfect yet in the 200m,” said Mboma. “I am still working at it and hope to be good in the next year.”
American Fred Kerley won the men’s 200m in a personal best 19.76, leading second-placed Isaac Makwala of Botswana (20.06) to make the qualifying time for next year’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.
“It’s been a long season, but it has had so much blessings for me that after winning the 100m silver medal in the Olympics, I went on to take the Diamond League,” said Kerley.