An uneasy calm has pervaded the atmosphere ahead of the 2015 World Championships and the reason is not far-fetched: everyone wants to know if the defending champion in the men’s 100m, 200m and 4x100m, Usain Bolt is going to be in Beijing. This is because the Jamaican has a daunting task ahead of him should he decide to compete in the championships.

The blazing form of controversial US sprinter, Justin Gatlin has left pundits puzzled, and searching for answers as to why the law of diminishing returns has refused to set in for the American. In contrast, he’s been getting better by the day, quite like the proverbial wine which gets better with age.

His consistency in the past two years has doubled his fans and critics alike, but from all indications, Gatlin is a man on a mission; and his mission undoubtedly is to bring an end to Bolt’s unbeaten run. He also looks in good form to upset the all-time rankings in the men’s 100m, having run a Personal Best (PB) of 9.74s this year at the Doha Diamond League.

The mark places him on the 5th spot in the all-time rankings and his exploits in Beijing will determine if he is in a position to re-arrange the existing order. An interesting coincidence is the fact that ALL 5 sprinters on the all-time list are still active, and could still all contest the finals at the Rio Olympics next year- what a tantalizing prospect that would be! Here’s the list of the Top 5 fastest sprinters ever.

5. Justin Gatlin
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Gatlin is one man many love to hate, but that has not stopped him from taking the world by storm. The Athens 2004 GOLD medallist is the 5th fastest man in the all-time list over the 100m and 200m. He secured the position after a scorching display at the 2015 Diamond League in Doha where he clocked a PB of 9.74s, bettering his former mark of 9.77s. His time was the fastest in the world since Blake ran 9.69s in August 2012.

He also became the 5th fastest 200m runner in history enroute his victory at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships where he recorded a time of 19.57s, improving on his World Lead (WL) of 19.68s in May. He follows Bolt, Blake, Michael Johnson and Walter Dix on the list. The two-time World Indoor champion has remained undefeated in all 100m/200m races he has competed in in the past two years.

Gatlin is favoured to reclaim the double world titles he won in Helsinki in 2005, before serving a four year ban from 2006 to 2010. He would be relishing a clash with Bolt but it is not yet certain if the Jamaican will be in Beijing going by his poor form. He defeated the Jamaican at the Golden Gala meet in Rome in 2013, and the WR holder exerted revenge in Moscow, finishing ahead of Gatlin.

However the US 4x100m relay team which included Gatlin stunned their Jamaican counterparts at the 2015 World Relays, as Ryan Bailey outsprinted Bolt who ran the anchor leg for his team. The men’s 100m in Rio is definitely going to be one to watch out for if Gatlin can extend his current form to next year. We’re keeping our fingers crossed!

Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games, Olympics and World Athletics Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


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