By Gene Cherry
EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) - World champion Justin Gatlin has withdrawn from Saturday's Prefontaine Classic with a hamstring injury and chief rival Christian Coleman will only race in the 100 metres, their managers said on Wednesday.
A tight right hamstring led Gatlin to pull out of the Eugene meet, wiping out a chance of facing Coleman in a high-calibre 100m that also includes China's world indoor silver medallist Su Bingtian, 2017 British Diamond League 100m winner CJ Ujah and American Ronnie Baker, the year's fastest man at 9.97 seconds.
Coleman's management company later announced that the young American would not attempt a 100-200 metres double on what will be his Diamond League debut, opting instead to just run the shorter sprint.
"Earlier mgmt considered a 100/200m double, being his first race of the season, it is more prudent to only contest the 100m. His opening 200m will occur in @BislettGames (on June 7 in Oslo)," Coleman's agency said on Twitter.
Gatlin, 36 experienced tightness in his hamstring during a 4x100m relay in Japan last weekend and while the leg was better, "the consensus was that Justin will not run at Pre", his agent Renaldo Nehemiah said in an email to meeting organisers.
"At this stage of Justin's career, we must err on the side of caution."
Gatlin won his individual 100m race in Osaka last weekend in 10.06 seconds after finishing seventh in the rain at the Shanghai Diamond League meeting.
His next race, if the leg continued to improve, would be a 100m at Ostrava, Czech Republic on June 13, Nehemiah told Reuters.
Coleman had also been scheduled to run in Shanghai but withdrew for what his coach said were precautionary reasons.
Saturday will be his first individual race since setting the world indoor 60m record and winning the global title at the distance in March.
Even without him, the Eugene 200m field will be an impressive one with Turkish world champion Ramil Guliyev, U.S. 300m world record holder Noah Lyles and Botswana's Isaac Makwala, the world's fastest man at the distance last year.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Eugene, Oregon; Editing by Ian Ransom/John O'Brien)