World 100 meters champion Justin Gatlin made a sluggish start to his 2018 season when he finished fourth in the rarely-run 150-metres sprint at the Athletix Grand Prix meet in Pretoria.
It was the first time the American has run competitively over the distance and the earliest start he has made to a season as he lost out to South African Anaso Jobodwana, bronze medalist in the 200 meters at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.
Gatlin reserved praise for Jobodwana, 25, who is likely to be a medal contender in the 200 meters at the Commonwealth Games next month, especially in the absence of injured compatriot Wayde van Niekerk.
The 36-year-old American was warmly received in Pretoria by an appreciative crowd, a far cry from the boos that rang around the stadium when he beat Usain Bolt to the 100 meters gold medal at the World Championships in London last year.
He has a tainted past having twice before been banned after testing positive for prohibited substances, and told reporters earlier on Thursday that the negative crowd reaction was hard to take.
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