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Gatlin has a good start


HELSINKI: Justin Gatlin is feeling so good he's already thinking about a world record. John Godina, who has been miserable for two months, failed to make the final of the shot put on Saturday at the World athletics championships.

On a sunny opening morning at the Olympic Stadium, Gatlin breezed through his heat in the 100 metres, slowing down at the end and clocking 10.16 seconds.

"It felt good to get those little jitters out of the way. Even if you are a champion, you always have those first-round jitters," Gatlin said.

Defending champion Kim Collins also won his heat, in a slow 10.31.

Olympic 200 champion Shawn Crawford also went through, even though Portugal's Francis Obikwelu beat him in his heat.

Poor effort

Godina threw only 19.54 metres, well below his season-leading mark of 22.20, and finished 17th. Only the top 12 advanced.

Christian Cantwell had the top throw with 21.11, and Adam Nelson also qualified easily with a throw of 20.35.

Despite his age of 33, the triple World champion insisted he was far from finished after his early exit. He said four injuries and two illnesses had slowed him down this season.

Godina and his two team-mates had combined for the nine best marks in the world heading into the competition.

After winning his first world title a decade ago, he will continue compete and plans to train for "two more Olympics."

A new event for women

The women's steeplechase made its World athletics championships debut. Docus Inzikuru of Uganda had the fastest time in the first round of the 3,000m race, finishing in 9 minutes, 27.85 seconds. Fifteen runners qualified for the final, which will be raced on Monday.

If she wins the final Monday, Inzikuru would become the first Ugandan world champion.

Olympic heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft, performing on a tender ankle, fought back from a bad start to keep up 2001 champion Eunice Barber. Barber led Kluft 2,993-2,961 after three events.

Lebedeva makes it

Even though Tatyana Lebedeva qualified for the final of the triple jump, the Russian forfeited two attempts after a mediocre opening jump of 14.15 and scraped through as the 10th of 12 qualifiers.

In the 400 hurdles, defending champion Felix Sanchez cruised into the next round despite a right foot injury which has spoiled his season so far. — AP

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