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Justin Gatlin off to slower start in 2016 than 2015

Justin Gatlin

KAWASAKI, JAPAN - MAY 08: Justin Gatlin of the United States looks on after winning the Men’s 100m during the SEIKO Golden Grand Prix 2016 at Todoroki Stadium on May 8, 2016 in Kawasaki, Japan. (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

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Justin Gatlin remained undefeated for 2016 in his fourth sprint of the season on Wednesday, but he has not approached his torrid start to 2015.

Gatlin won a 100m race in China in 9.94 seconds with little to no wind for the second time in five days, edging countryman Mike Rodgers by .03 in Beijing (video here).

In 2015, Gatlin raced one 100m in May, clocking 9.74 seconds, which remains the fastest time in the world since 2012.

From May 2015 through the August World Championships, Gatlin ran 9.83 or faster in seven of his eight 100m races, according to

His only losses in 33 sprint events since the start of 2014 came to Usain Bolt in the 2015 Worlds 100m and 200m, where Gatlin took silver to the Jamaican legend, according to Tilastopaja. Those were Gatlin and Bolt’s only meetings in that stretch.

Since Worlds, Gatlin, who at 34 is at an advanced age for a sprinter, has run 9.98, 9.90, 10.02, 9.94 and 9.94 and severely rolled his ankle in the offseason.

Gatlin is not scheduled to race the next Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday.

He is in the Prefontaine Classic 100m field on May 28 against American record holder Tyson Gay, former world-record holder Asafa Powell and World co-bronze medalist Andre De Grasse.

Usain Bolt is racing neither Rabat nor Prefontaine but is entered in a 100m in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Friday against Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton.

MORE: Another sprint medalist slowed by injury

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