Gatlin wins third successive Rome Golden Gala 100m

Justin Gatlin from the U.S. reacts after winning the men's 100 meters event during the Golden Gala IAAF Diamond League at the Olympic stadium in Rome, Italy June 4, 2015. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito

ROME (Reuters) - American sprinter Justin Gatlin won this third successive Rome Golden Gala 100 metres when he clocked 9.75 seconds at the Olympic stadium on Thursday.

Gatlin, 33, has faced a barrage of criticism since clocking a lifetime best of 9.74 seconds at the opening Diamond League event in Doha from sceptics who point out he has served two doping bans.

On Thursday he shot out of the blocks to lead from start to finish and finish in an unofficial 9.74 seconds which was rounded up by one hundredth of a second.

At a news conference on Wednesday to promote the first European Diamond League meeting of the season Gatlin, also the world leader in the 200, said it was too early to be considered the world championships favourite in Beijing in August ahead of defending champion and Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt.

"I'm just trying to stay healthy and strong," he said. "But having two world leads does put me in a position to say entering a race, 'Okay, I'm the man to go out there and go against."

(Reporting by John Mehaffey, editing by Ken Ferris)

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