Justin Gatlin and Mike Rodgers have warned their Jamaican rivals Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake that they intend to win a sprinting "dogfight" after securing a one-two in the 100m at the Diamond League opener in Doha.
Gatlin, the American banned from athletics for four years after testing positive for steroids in 2006, clocked an impressive time of 9.97sec to win in the desert heat with his compatriot Rodgers a close second in 9.99sec. Bolt ran 10.09 in his season-opener at the Cayman Invitational earlier in the week. Blake missed the meeting here due to injury.
Gatlin, who picked up the bronze medal at last year's Olympics behind the Jamaican pair, is confident that the Americans can challenge for gold at the World Championships in Moscow in August. "I don't turn up to races trying to be second and third, I train to go out there and run fast and be dominant in the race," he said. "You want a mixture of great athletes, you want to come to an event where you really don't know who's going to win. You want to go out there and have a really good dogfight. You've got to let him [Bolt] do what he does and I'll do what I do. When we meet each other, may the best man win."
Gatlin has rediscovered his form since his suspension, winning the world indoor title over 60m in Istanbul last March, and his team-mate Rodgers confirmed the pair have the Jamaicans in their sights.
"Of course there's a rivalry, we want to beat them and they want to beat us," Rodgers said. "We've got to even out the playing field. On any day you can beat them. They've got to tie their shoes just like you've got to tie your shoes."
Earlier in the evening the Olympic 800m champion, David Rudisha, eased to victory in a time of 1min 43.87sec. The Kenyan barely had to get out of second gear and while he was almost three seconds off the world record pace he set at London 2012, the win never looked in doubt. "I can do better, for sure," he said. "It's always nice running here in Doha and the crowd was just fantastic. I felt good and ran OK."
Second-placed Mohammed Aman can take some solace from his second place. However, that seems to be all the remaining athletes in the 800m are fighting for. "I did not want to stay behind Rudisha," Aman said. "I tried to pass him but I could not."
It was a disappointing evening for Great Britain's athletes with Robbie Grabarz failing to reach the latter stages of the high jump. Grabarz, who has been working with the sports psychologist Steve Peters this year in an attempt to improve his focus after struggling for motivation, failed to clear 2.27m, well below his personal best.
The atmosphere inside the Qatar Sports Centre was a far cry from the raucous cacophony of the Olympic Stadium, but the home supporters, with pockets of Ethiopian fans increasing the volume, were vocal in their backing for Grabarz's rival, Mutaz Essa Barshim. However, the youngster finished second to Ukraine's Bohdan Bondarenko, who jumped 2.33m.
Britain's Tiffany Porter missed out on third place in the 100m hurdles despite a fine start, while Shara Proctor finished sixth in the long jump, her fifth leap of the night being a season's best of 6.82m. Christine Ohuruogu was the best performer for Britain when finishing third in the 400m, with the US's Allyson Felix surprisingly beaten by Amantle Montsho of Botswana.
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