By Gary Smith, TrackAlerts.Com Contributor
ROMA — American sprinter Justin Gatlin is confident of running in the 9.60 seconds for the 100m this summer.
Gatlin blasted his way to a meeting record en route to winning the men’s 100m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome on Thursday and 2004 Olympic champion believes things are certainly coming together.
The 33-year-old, who leads the world with a swift 9.74 seconds, wasn’t too far from his world-leading mark after posting 9.75secs to improve Usain Bolt’s previous meeting mark of 9.76secs, set in 2012.
“I have had a couple of very good races, couple of 100s and 200s and I feel confident running times around 9.70s,” the American said after his win.
“This meeting is like the end of the first part of the season and now I am heading home and after the trials i’ll have a month to train and to spend time with my son and my family.”
Gatlin stated that his focus right now is just to stay injury free before the American championships, adding that beating world record holder Bolt isn’t on his agenda at the moment.
“I don’t think of beating Usain Bolt now because the championship is not tomorrow, we still have some time to come.
“I am glad I had a good start and managed to execute the first 60m to be confident with the victory. 9.60 should be possible in the summer.”
The American, who now owns the two fastest times in the world this season, finished ahead of Jimmy Vicaut of France and USA’s Mike Rodgers, who both clocked 9.98secs.
Gatlin has been in the form of his life this season and entered the Rome Diamond League meeting on the back of a world-leading 19.68 mark in Eugene, over the weekend.
Earlier, American Johnny Dutch won the men’s 400m hurdles in a seasonal best time of 48.13 — adding to his Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting victory on Saturday.
He held off his countryman Michael Tinsley, who ran home in a season’s best of 48.34 and Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson 48.65.
Dutch says he is ready for the American trials.
“The key to win the races is consistency and hard work,” he said. “I feel very prepared, just need to work on some specifics before the US trials.”