Gatlin fastest of them all

PTI | ByAgence France-Presse, Athens
Aug 23, 2004 03:45 PM IST

United States sprinter Justin Gatlin was crowned the world's fastest man after he clocked 9.85 sec in the 100m final in Athens. In Hindi

United States sprinter Justin Gatlin was crowned the world's fastest man at the Olympics here on Sunday after surging to victory in the quickest 100-metres final in the 108-year history of the games.

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Gatlin blasted to the gold medal in 9.85 sec, coming home ahead of silver medallist Francis Obikwelu of Portugal and America's 2000 Olympic champion Maurice Greene in third.

The eagerly anticipated sprint clash electrified a 70,000 capacity crowd who witnessed five men break the 10-second barrier, making it the fastest 100m final in Olympic history.

It completed a heady rise for 22-year-old Gatlin, who was hit with a two-year drugs suspension for amphetamines in 2001 later cut to one year after he successfully appealed on medical grounds.

Gatlin's win came as the Games were hit by a fresh doping controversy after the International Olympic Committee confirmed that Russian women's shot put gold medallist Irina Korzhanenko had failed a drugs test.

It is the first time since the Ben Johnson scandal at the 1988 Seoul Games that a gold medallist in the Olympics' showpiece track and field competition has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Ironically, Korzhanenko was reported to have taken the banned steroid stanozolol - the same substance that fuelled Johnson on his infamous dash to gold in the men's 100 metres final 16 years ago.

Korzhanenko's case makes her the 14th athlete to be caught since an Olympics anti-drugs sweep began on July 30. Greek weightlifter Leonidas Sampanis was on Sunday stripped of his bronze medal as results of a drug test were confirmed.

Back at the athletics, a gripping women's marathon saw British world record holder Paula Radcliffe's quest for gold end in tears.

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