Sport

Gatlin, 39, not thinking of retirement yet

Gatlin, 39, not thinking of retirement yet

Former World and Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin addresses journalists upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on September 16, 2021 ahead of Kip Keino Classic slated for Saturday.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Former Olympic 100m champion Justin Gatlin from the United States will decide on his future after the World Championships due July 15 to 24 in Oregon at his home country.

Gatlin, who turns 40 on February 10, next year, hinted that he intends to venture into humanitarian work mainly in the world of sports after retiring.

"Next season is fast coming up and I will need to sit down with my coach Dennis Mitchell to have a game plan,” said Gatlin, adding that the sunset of his illustrious 22 years track career that has been marked with up-and-downs, is fast approaching.

“I want to show much of my humanitarian side where I will come up with a broad program that will help athletes across the world in different sports,” said Gatlin, who believes that there is a big defect in sports around the world.

“A lot of athletes don’t have the equipment to help mould, explore and achieve their talent to the fullest. One must have the means, know-how and coaching,” said Gatlin, whose trophy cabinet is flowing with among others one Olympic gold in 100m, two Olympic silver medals, one Olympic bronze medal and four world championships titles.

“That is why I want to build a program that will help athletes. For instance, I want the Dominican Republic to produce good baseball players, Kenya is capable of producing quality sprinters and jumpers,” said Gatlin, who won three medals from 2004 Athens Olympics; gold in 100m, silver in 4x100m relays and bronze in 200m.

Revealing that his secret to longevity on track was his desire to achieve small goals, Gatlin, who won bronze in 100m at the 2012 London Olympics and silver in 100m at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said that each goal evolved to something special.

“I wanted to prove something to myself, the media, the audience of the world and to my wife, Daynice and son, Jace and each time it came with a different meaning,” said Gatling, who won four gold medals from the World Championships; in 100m and 200m in 2005 Helsinki, 100m in 2017 London and 4x100m in 2019 Doha.

However, Gatlin, who has six silver medals from the World Championships, hastened that what kept him going wasn’t the medals but proving something.

Gatlin, the 2003 Birmingham and 2012 Istanbul World Indoor 100m champion, said his lowest moment was during the 2015 Beijing World Championships where he settled for silver in both 100m and 200m, losing the battle to Jamaican Usain Bolt in the two events.

“I had enjoyed a great season in 2015 but I got nipped at the end by Bolt especially in 100m and ended up crying like a baby,” said Gatlin, who clocked 9.80 against Bolt’s winning time of 9.79.

Then the best moment for Gatlin, who served a four-year ban for doping in 2006, arrived at the 2017 London World Championships. Gatlin won the 100m final in 9.92 beating compatriot Christian Coleman and Bolt in 9.94 and 9.95 respectively.

“Virtually the whole stadium booed me when I took the blocks in 100m but I believed in who I was to cross the line triumphantly. I went on my one knee and bowed to the great Bolt. It was about respect since it’s an individual sport, not team effort,” said Gatlin. “When you reach a certain level you must seal your legacy.”

Gatling believes that Bolt’s World Records of 9.58 in 100m and 19.19 set during the 2009 World Championships will soon be shattered. “Records are to be broken. They will eventually go down soon,” said Gatlin.