Powell Sets 100-Meter World Record At Rieti Grand Prix

By Off The BASN Sports Wire
Updated: September 9, 2007

RIETI, Italy — Asafa Powell bettered his world record in the 100 meters Sunday, running 9.74 seconds at the Rieti Grand Prix.

The Jamaican set the mark in the second of two heats to reach the 100 final.

“That’s what happens when I start to listen to the coach,” said Powell, who appeared to ease up before the finish line.

Powell lowered the mark by 0.03 seconds, having run 9.77 three times despite never winning a major competition.

“It’s just to remind my fans that Asafa Powell is still here,” Powell said. “I made a couple of mistakes and I corrected them.”

The heat was run with a strong tail wind, but it was below the maximum allowed by track and field’s governing body, making the record valid.

In the final, Powell won in 9.78. Michael Frater of Jamaica was second in 10.03, followed by Jaysuma Saidy Ndure of Norway in 10.10.

In the heat, Ndure was second to Powell in 10.07, and Kim Collins of St. Kitts and Nevis was third in 10.14.

After the final, the Jamaican celebrated amid a crowd of photographers on the field of Raul Guidobaldi Stadium, throwing a bouquet of flowers into the stands.

“Me and my coach have been working to getting myself back to normal,” Powell added. “I came here today and I executed properly and did what I was supposed to do.”

Powell finished third in the 100 last month at the world athletics championships in Osaka, Japan. Rieti is known for a fast track on which six middle-distance world records have been set. Powell said he was attracted by the quick track as he sought to bounce back from his disappointing performance at the worlds.

“It’s a very fast track. I love this track. It’s very bouncy,” said Powell, who trains in Italy three months of the year. “Italy is a good place for me. It’s my second home.”

Powell first set the world record of 9.77 in June 2005 in Athens, Greece. Justin Gatlin matched the time in May 2006, but the American faces a suspension of up to eight years following a positive doping test for testosterone and other steroids at the Kansas Relays a month earlier.

In June 2006, Powell again ran 9.77, and then did it a third time in August 2006.

But despite the fast times, Powell has struggled at major competitions, missing a medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. At the worlds, he finished behind gold medalist Tyson Gay and Derrick Atkins, running 9.96. The bronze was Powell’s first major medal.