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American sprinters shine (early in the season)

May 13, 2013, 10:18 AM EST

Justin Gatlin

Leave it to the Americans to show up Usain Bolt and the Jamaicans early in the season:

After London fourth place finisher Tyson Gay sprinted to a world’s best 100m time of 9.86-seconds at the Kingston Invite last weekend, where he was a replacement for Bolt who pulled out of the race with a hamstring strain, Athens 100m champ Justin Gatlin ran 9.97-seconds to win the Diamond League meet in Doha despite suffering from an illness or two.

“I was feeling under the weather coming into the competition,” Gatlin told the AP. “I had a fever, found out I had a sinus infection. I still wanted to come here and thought I would be ready. I was ready at the last second.”

Meanwhile, Bolt opened his season with a 10.09 at the Cayman last week, his slowest finals time on the senior circuit, but had enough in the tank to edge out compatriot Kemar Bailey-Cole in a photo finish. Of course, as self-described “seasoned vet,” Gatlin, knows better than to put much stock in his time.

“It is going to be a long season,” Gatlin said. “It is about the person who can pace themselves who can have those fast times crossing the finish line at the finals.”

And for the last five years, that person has been from Jamaica.

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