Gatlin shoots down Bolt in Rome

Rome, June 7 (IANS/CMC) Sprint icon Usain Bolt suffered a shocking 100 metres defeat to resurgent American Justin Gatlin at the Rome Diamond League here.

In his first race of the season on the European circuit Thursday, the 26-year-old Bolt finished second in 9.95 seconds to Gatlin who was one-hundredth of a second faster to the line, reports CMC.

Bolt, 26, was fastest out of the blocks at the Diamond League meeting but American Gatlin, 31, powered past the Jamaican to win in 9.94 seconds.

"I need two months to get ready so I am not worried," Bolt said.

"It is always a good thing to lose. You can figure how to step it up. I knew I wasn't in great shape but I'm not worried. It takes time to get back into shape and I didn't expect much from this race."

Bolt had suffered a hamstring injury last month which hampered him in his opening race of the season in the Cayman Islands where he could only manage a time of 10.09 seconds.

But the American had to dip his head on the line to beat the world record holder, with France's Jimmy Vicaut third in 10.02 seconds.

"I got the perfect start that I wanted, then about five steps in I stumbled a bit and that kind of threw my game off," said Bolt who ran a season's best 9.95.

"My legs didn't feel like my legs coming into the straight. I guess I need to do more strength work. I think I just need time to get it back together but the fact I got a good start threw me off. At least I got under 10 seconds".

It was Bolt's first major international defeat since finishing second to Tyson Gay in Stockholm in 2010 and ends his winning run in the Italian capital after impressive victories in the 2011 and 2012 Diamond League meetings.

His next outing will be over 200m in next Thursday's Diamond League meeting in Oslo as he builds up to the World Championships in Moscow from Aug 10-18 where he will be defending his title over the longer sprint distance.

--IANS/CMC

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