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US shot putter Kurtis Roberts throws during the the US Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, on Sunday. Roberts placed fifth and failed to make the Olympic team. Mike Blake / Reuters
Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay served notice they will be ready to challenge Usain Bolt at the London Olympics in the 100 meters after qualifying for the Games with impressive times on Sunday.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion who could not defend his crown in Beijing while serving a four-year doping ban, won the 100 final at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in 9.80 seconds, the third-best time in the world this year.
"I think there's a lot left in the tank," Gatlin said. "I was pleased with my time and the effort I left on the track."
Gatlin, who won the world 60m indoor crown earlier this year, lowered his own season best from the 9.87 he ran to win last month in Doha and served notice he was aiming at reigning Olympic champion and world record-holder Bolt.
"I don't think I would come back to a sport where I'm OK getting second or third," Gatlin said.
Bolt owns the year's best two 100s, having gone 9.76 to win at Rome last month and 9.79 to win on June 7 at Oslo, and his Jamaican compatriots Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell were also ahead of Gatlin on the 2012 list until Sunday.
"We all have our eyes on that prize we want to get at the end," Gatlin said. "If there are three Jamaicans we have to get out of the way, that will be our goal."
Gatlin, banished for much of Bolt's rise to stardom, said he was ready for any mind games or Bolt's trademark archery-styled theatrics at the start line.
"I love entertainment," Gatlin said. "If he wants to tap dance, that's fine. His lane is as long as my lane. I have to worry about me. If that gets him in the zone, that's fine, let him do that."
Gay, the former world champion who underwent hip surgery last year and missed nearly all of the past 12 months, was second in 9.86 with Ryan Bailey third in 9.93 for the last London berth.
Gay's time ranks seventh on this year's world list and puts him fifth among performers behind Bolt, Gatlin, Blake and Powell.
"I'm just going to continue to take care of my body and stay healthy. That is the big thing," Gay said. "A lot of these guys are already sharp and running great times. I believe it's going to be tough (in London).
"I'm just going to go fight them."
Walter Dix, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and 2011 world runner-up, was eighth in the final in 10.95 after straining a left leg muscle in the earlier semifinals, an injury that could hinder his hopes in next week's 200.
"I don't think it's that bad," Dix said. "I've got a couple days to recover. We will see."
Former world champion Sanya Richards-Ross, aiming for a 200-400 double in London, secured the first part of her bid by winning the 400m in 49.28.
The Jamaican-born sprint star, who became a US citizen in 2002, lowered her own 2012 world-best time by .11 of a second with a time that was the fastest in the world since 2009.
"With 40m to go, my only thought was, 'I'm going to have a chance to represent the USA in my third Olympics," she said. "It's a dream come true. You can't really think about it until you get past this moment."
(China Daily 06/26/2012 page22)