Beijing: Usain Bolt beat his controversial rival Justin Gatlin by just one-hundredth of a second on Sunday as he retained his world 100m title in a race billed as a battle between clean sports and doping. Bolt, also the double Olympic gold medallist and world record holder, ran his season’s best of 9.79 seconds in a thrilling race against Gatlin, who has served two doping bans.
Gatlin overstretched and faltered through the closing stages, taking silver with 9.80sec — slower than his semi-final time of 9.77 set earlier at the Bird’s Nest stadium. Gatlin’s fellow American Trayvon Bromell and Canadian Andre de Grassse shared the bronze medal position after both timing 9.92sec.
“That still was not the best. I still stumbled,” Jamaica’s Bolt said in reference to clumsy footwork close to the blocks, after a similar error nearly derailed him in the semi-final. “I came out here relaxed, no stress and brought it home. “My aim is to be the number one until I retire and therefore I am pushing myself and pushing myself. “It’s all about running the race and getting it done. You can call that race rusty, I could have run faster.”
Tempered applause rang hollow round a packed Bird’s Nest stadium when Gatlin, in a red one-piece suit, was introduced to the crowd.