SPRINT kings Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin will be joined in their 200m showdown by British youngster Zharnel Hughes after all three won their semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships yesterday.
Six-time Olympic champion Bolt struck the first blow in his duel with Gatlin by winning the 100m on Sunday in Beijing and eased into today’s 200m final with a time of 19.95 seconds, despite visibly easing off over the last 70m.
Gatlin, who has served two bans for doping violations, is comfortably the fastest man in the world this year over 200m, and clocked a time of 19.87 as he continued to seek revenge for his 100m defeat.
The 33-year-old not only clocked the fastest time of any of the three semi-final victors, it was also the quickest time in a World Championships since the 19.84 set by Portugal’s Francis Obikwelu in 1999.
Anguilla-born Hughes, a training partner of Bolt who took up his right to represent Great Britain earlier this year, maintained his interest in proceedings by winning his semi-final in 20.14.
Kenyan runners Joyce Zakary and Koki Manunga, meanwhile, have both accepted provisional bans after testing positive for doping in targeted tests carried out by governing body the IAAF.