Usain Bolt is desperate to silence Justin Gatlin and rubbished claims that he is afraid to face the controversial American.
The pair are yet to meet this season after Bolt’s injury-ravaged 2014 but are set for an explosive confrontation at the World Championships in Beijing in August.
Gatlin twice convicted of doping offences is the fastest man this year in both the 100m and 200m, with respective times of 9.75 and 19.68 seconds.
“Afraid? When people say that, I laugh. I have been in the sport for years and I have never dodged anybody. When it matters, I’ve always showed up and shown that I’m the best,’ Bolt said.
“Gatlin has been doing a lot of talking, saying a lot of things. He has proved he is running fast times and he’s ready. So it should be exciting going into the world championship.
“I look forward to competing when people talk because if you don’t back it up you look really stupid.
“People can look forward to the championship. What is going to happen? Justin is running good, Tyson (Gay) is running good, Asafa (Powell) is running good, Usain is running good. So when we come to the championship, it’s going to be like an explosion.
The double-Olympic champion is currently in New York for a 200m Grand Prix race in his first return to the city since breaking the 100m world record there in 2008.
He has since gone on to smash the 9.72 seconds time he set that night, with the current record standing at 9.58 seconds. But he says his career really took off after his exploits in the Big Apple.
‘That night was exciting. It was a big showdown between me and Tyson at the time,” Bolt added.
“For me, that was when it really started. That is when I really blew up. People really took note. Everybody around the world started to watch. For me, it was a game changer.”
Gatlin is also in New York for the 100m, which will take place on Saturday but Bolt says he isn’t ready for a showdown just yet.
Bolt has raced only twice in 2015, winning the 100m in Rio in April but losing out to USA as part of the Jamaican team at the World Relay Championships in Nassau last month.
“Fact is, I’m not in the best of shape and I’m not going to put myself out there if I know I’m just coming back and I need time to get back to where I need to be,” he said.
“When I get to Beijing I’ll be ready to go and that’s when the showdown will be.”

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