Rio 2016: Gatlin is slowing down - Bolt

Justin Gatlin failed to make the men's 200 metre final in Rio, but it was not a shock for reigning champion Usain Bolt.

Usain Bolt was unsurprised to see Justin Gatlin fail to make the final of the 200 metres at Rio 2016, claiming the American is "slowing down".

Reigning champion and world record holder Bolt booked his place in the final by winning his heat in a season's best 19.78 seconds, though Andre De Grasse ran him close to the line.

Gatlin looked set to join the Jamaican in the final, but was edged out by Panama's Alonso Edward and Churandy Martina of Netherlands with a time of 20.13secs.

Bolt beat Gatlin to gold in the 100m at the weekend, and he felt the American had shown signs of a decline in their previous encounter.

"I wasn't truly surprised, I thought he actually made it but I could tell from the 100m he was slowing down," said Bolt.

The 29-year-old set the 200m world record of 19.19secs in Berlin in 2009, and he is hopeful of going even quicker in Thursday's final.

"I definitely think I can try for the world record, I definitely feel that," Bolt added.

"I need to run efficiently and get into the straight and run the perfect race – if I can run a little more efficiently on the turns.

"I will be hoping for lane six or seven maybe to be able to run as smooth as I can."