Why Justin Gatlin is not too worried about Fred Kerley & Christian Coleman's slow outdoor season starts

Why Justin Gatlin is not too worried about Fred Kerley & Christian Coleman's slow outdoor season starts

Mark Kinyanjui 14:35 - 06.05.2024

Kerley and Coleman were unable to run sub-10 100m races at Xiamen and Suzhou Diamond League meetings but ex-American sprinter Justin Gatlin is backing them to come good.

Former American sprinter Justin Gatlin has explained why there should not be concerns about both Fred Kerley and Cristian Coleman’s shockingly slow times recorded at both the Suzhou and Xiamen Diamond League meetings recently.

Coleman won the 100m race in Xiamen, but in a time of 10.13, with Kerley finishing second in 10.17. In Suzhou a week later, Coleman finished second behind South Africa’s Akani Simbine.

The former African record holder showed superior top-end speed to pull away from the two men on his inside, dipping in a winning time of 10.01 seconds.

Coleman’s characteristic blistering start was not enough to give him back-to-back victories and had to be content with second place with a season's best 10.04s. Kerley, who finished second behind Coleman in Xiamen a week ago, settled for third in 10.11s.

Speaking on his Ready-Set-Go YouTube channel, Gatlin revealed why fans should not have a reason to be worried about the duo's slow starts to the season, given they both have not ran sub-10 seconds 100m races yet.

“I do not think we need to push the panic button just yet,” Gatlin said.

Gatlin believes the the travelling may have taken a toll on both American sprinters, in particular, Kerley.

“He has travelled very far. Once he gets into more familiar territory, comes back home, reacclamatises himself, then  I would look and gauge exactly where he is at going forward," he added.

“We always measure athletes based on what their best is because we want to see them replicating that. We are used to seeing Fred dominating with consistent 9.8s, dropping 9.7s and now we are like, ‘what is wrong? What is going on?”

Gatlin has backed both sprinters to deliver when it really matters, with the two aiming big at the upcoming Olympic games in Paris, France.

“I don’t think he is in trouble yet. Fred and Coleman are gamers, it is just they have the same fibre in them, just like the grass, which is, they are really going to step up to the game and give everything they have when it is on the line, when it counts," said Gatlin.

“Give them another week or two and we will see what they are at.”