Gatlin 20.21 in Knoxville

Saturday, April 10

Gatlin wins 200 in homecoming at Tennessee

Associated Press
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Top American sprinter Justin Gatlin made his 2004 debut in a familiar setting.

Gatlin, the 2003 world 60-meter indoor champion, won the 200 meters in 20.21 seconds Saturday at the Sea Ray Relays on his old collegiate track.

``I wanted to come here and get a good race under my belt,’’ he said.

Gatlin injured his left hamstring in an outdoor meet in Mexico last May and missed the rest of the season. While he was out, he hurt his right hamstring.

Gatlin burst onto the track scene at the University of Tennessee and left school after his sophomore season in 2002 to pursue a professional career.

It feels really good. It was something I needed,'' Gatlin said about running in front of fans who know him. I think I’m going to be here annually.’’

Gatlin’s time was the fastest in the world so far this season. Australia’s Adam Miller had a 20.47 on Feb. 8 in Sydney.

Gatlin is trying to make the U.S. Olympic team and run in the 100 and 200 in Athens this August.

He wasn’t the only Olympic hopeful competing.

Former NCAA champion Aleen Bailey ran the second leg and Olympic bronze medalist Melissa Morrison the third to help Speed Elite win the 400 relay in 44.38.

South Carolina came in second followed by Doyle Management, which included Ireland’s Karen Shinkins and Monique Hennegan, who won gold in the 2000 Olympics on the United States’ 1,600 relay team.

Morrison won the 100 hurdles Friday in 12.93, the second fastest time in the world so far this year.

Bailey won the 100 Saturday in 11.39.

Jamie Nieto cleared 7 feet, { inch to win the men’s high jump, tying for the second best jump in the world in this year.

Tom Pappas, the reigning world champion decathlete, tied with last year’s NCAA champion Stephen Harris in the high jump at 6-10}. Both men are former Tennessee standouts.

Pappas was second in the javelin with 205-9.

Tim Mack, a former Tennessee star and 2002 U.S. indoor champion, won the pole vault by clearing 17-11}. He missed all three tries at 18-5{.

Lawrence Johnson, another former Tennessee athlete and 2000 Olympic silver medalist, also cleared 17-11} but chose to raise the bar to 18-9{ for his final attempts. He failed on his tries.

Johnson has been away from competition for almost two years because of an ankle sprain, torn knee cartilage and a torn rotator cuff in 2002.

In the closest race of the day, Tennessee’s Sean Lambert edged Middle Tennessee’s Mardy Scales at the 100 finish line. Lambert was clocked in 10.38 and Scales was 10.39.

Tonette Dyer of San Diego State won the 200 in 22.96, the best American time so far this year.