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Gatlin stays on course for sprint double

August 26, 2004 02:09 IST
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Newly-crowned Olympic 100 metres champion Justin Gatlin remained on course for the cherished sprint double on Wednesday when he eased into Thursday's 200 metres final.

The American, seeking to become the first 100/200 winner since compatriot Carl Lewis in 1984, won the second semi-final in 20.35 seconds.

His training partner Shawn Crawford, edged out of the 100 metres medals by two hundredths of a second, had been a touch faster when easing down to win the first in 20.05.

All the big guns progressed safely, including 100 silver medallist Francis Obikwelu of Portugal, Asafa Powell of Jamaica and two-times silver medallist Frank Fredericks of Namibia, who is to retire from athletics after the final.

Briton Darren Campbell, who won silver in Sydney, was hampered by a hamstring strain and finished last in his heat.

The Sydney winner, Costas Kenteris, was absent after withdrawing from the Games after missing a dope test.

The Athens crowd, however, had him on their minds and the first heat was delayed while officials appealed in vain for quiet as thousands chanted the name of the fallen Greek hero.

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