American sprinter – Justin Gatlin has announced his retirement from the sport of track and field at the age of 40.

The sprinter enjoyed a long career tinged with success but also with controversy. Gatlin announced his retirement via social media platform Instagram, via a post entitled ‘Dear Track’.

“I have loved you track. You gave me tears of sadness and of joy, lessons learned that will never be forgotten,” Gatlin wrote.

“The torch is passed but the love will never fade. On your mark, get set … Gone!”

His 60m, 100m and 200m personal bests of 6.45, 9.74 and 19.57 also sees him place ninth, fifth and sixth on the respective all-time lists.

For over a decade he was part of a sprinting generation, including Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay, which captured the imagination of athletics fans around the world.

Gatlin was the first on the scene when he struck Olympic gold in the 100m at Athens 2004 before going one better a year later at Helsinki 2005 by winning the world sprint double of 100m and 200m.

His rivalry with Bolt ended up becoming must-watch action and after finishing second to the Jamaican in the 100m at Moscow 2013 and Beijing 2015 he finally avenged defeat with victory at London 2017.

The retirement of Gatlin marks the end of an era for one of the quickest and explosive yet controversial sprinters in athletics.

The legacy he leaves behind will certainly not go unnoticed.

By Baffour Akwaboah