Sun, Aug 20, 2006 - Page 23 News List

Powell equals 100m world best

FASTEST MAN ON EARTH Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell ran 9.77 seconds for the 100m on Friday but is confident that at some point in the future he will improve on it

AP , ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

Jamaica's Asafa Powell, left, leads US Tyson Gay to win the men's 100m race at the IAAF Golden League meeting in Zurich on Friday. Powell equalled his world record of 9.77 seconds in the race, which he holds jointly with American Justin Gatlin.

PHOTO: AFP

Asafa Powell needed three days to get to this meet because of all the airline disruptions in Europe.

When he finally arrived, he was as fast and flawless as ever.

The Jamaican equaled his 100m world record at the Weltklasse Golden League meet on a balmy Friday night, the third time he has run the distance in 9.77 seconds.

"I knew I had something special, but I didn't know so fast," Powell said. "I'm the only one who has ever run 9.77 three times. I ran a world record three times. If I'm going to continue to run 9.77 for the rest of my career it's not a bother to me."

Still, he's confident he can go even faster.

"One way or the other, there will come a time when I run under 9.77," he said.

Powell led from start to finish and was followed by two Americans -- Tyson Gay in a personal best of 9.84 and Leonard Scott in his season-best 9.97.

Just getting to Zurich was an ordeal for Powell. His trip from Jamaica took three days because of disruptions caused by the alleged terror plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights from London. He left Jamaica on Saturday and went by train from Paris to his summer training base in Italy.

Powell set the world record in Athens last year, with Justin Gatlin equaling the mark in May. Powell matched the record again a month later in Gateshead, England.

Gatlin was not at Weltklasse after revelations of a failed doping test last month from a relay race in April. If the positive test is confirmed, Gatlin could lose his share of the world record.

Powell has won all four of his Golden League events and is among nine athletes vying for a share in the US$1 million jackpot. The prize is awarded to any athlete who wins his or her event in all six meets in the series.

Sherone Simpson of Jamaica won the women's 100 in 11.09 after having run 10.82 in June. Two Americans followed -- world indoor champion MeLisa Barber in 11.25 and Stephanie Durst in 11.27. World champion Lauryn Williams was sixth in 11.40.

American Sanya Richards, runner-up at the worlds in Helinski last year, also stayed in contention for a share of the Golden League bonus, winning the 400 in 50.18. Olympic and world champion Tonique Williams-Darling was fourth.

Jeremy Wariner posted the second-fastest time this season in the 400, winning in 44.20. It also marked his fourth win in the series.

World champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia kept alive her chances for a cut of the full jackpot, winning the women's 5,000 in 14 minutes, 45.73 seconds.

"The race wasn't easy," Dibaba said. "My time is not bad, but it was not really important, was it?"

Panama's Irving Saladino won the long jump for his third win in four Golden League events. He still has a chance of a cut of the smaller US$500,000 jackpot, which requires athletes to win only five of six events.

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