Athletics: Jamaican-American coaches slam Gatlin pull out

New York, N.Y., May 31, 2006 – Justin Gatlin’s decision not to face-off against Asafa Powell at the British Grand Prix early next month is viwed by two Jamaican-born, U.S.-based coaches as a monetary one.

“I think he’s looking for more money,” top Jamaican coach Dalton Evans told HBN yesterday. And “it’s unfair since everyone was looking forward to the clash.”

Coach Sean Phillips of the New York-based Awesome Power Track Club agreed. “It’s a business,” said Phillips. “Maybe someone never negotiated properly. Somebody needs to step up with some more money.”

Both coaches also are adamant that it’s not fear on Gatlin’s part that preventing the two from clashing in June. “I don’t think that he’s scared. He’s more competitive than Powell but Asafa’s bloodline is athletics,” said Phillips, referring to Powell’s brother Donovan Powell, also a top athlete.

The coaches comments come as Gatlin, who has now tied with Powell for the world’s fastest man, pulled out of a race on June 11 in Gateshead, England that would have pit him against the top Jamaican athlete.

Gatlin’s manager Renaldo Nehemiah, was quoted as saying in the British press that the head-to-head with Powell had never been part of the deal.

Gatlin and Powell could next face-off against each other in the highly anticipated showdown at Crystal Palace on July 24. (HBN)