ATHENS, Greece -- Asafa Powell set a world record in the men's 100 meters Tuesday, clocking 9.77 seconds at the Tsiklitiria Super Grand Prix meeting.
On a warm summer's night on one of the fastest tracks in the
world, the 22-year-old beat Tim Montgomery's previous record of
9.78 set in Paris in September 2002 to become the fastest man
ever over the distance.
"This goes to show that the no one knows how fast a man can
run," a smiling Powell told reporters. "I am just happy to have
set the record on a track where Maurice Greene also broke the
American Greene set a record in 1999 when he ran 9.79
seconds in the same stadium, which hosted the Summer Olympics
Montgomery's record already was at risk because he faces doping charges.
Powell, 22, already had the world's fastest time this year, a run of 9.84 seconds at the Jamaica International Invitational on May 8. He also ran a 9.85 on June 9 in the Czech Republic.
Powell earlier this week had said he would take a shot at
the record during the Athens super grand prix at the stadium
which hosted Summer Olympics last year and where American
Maurice Greene also set a new 100 metres mark in 1999.
Asked whether he could run even faster, Powell smiled.
"If you ask what I can do more this year, you will have to
wait until the end of this year's season to see," he said.
Montgomery finished fifth out of six in the 100 meters with a time of 10.43 seconds Saturday at a meet in Mexico.
"I congratulate him on the record but I was shocked he broke
it so early in the season," Montgomery told his agent Charles
On Tuesday in front of a sparse crowd in the Greek capital,
Powell showed he was in fine form during his semifinal when he
clocked 9.98 seconds despite easing up in the last few meters.
In the final, he got off to a good start and powered past
his opponents to finish three meters ahead of Aziz Zakari from
Ghana, who was second in 9.99 seconds and Jamaican Michael
Frater, who was third. The wind speed was within the legal
Tuesday's record made up in part for Powell's disappointment
at finishing fifth in a 100 meters final he was favorite to win
at last year's Olympics.
Powell's run removed controversy from the world record. Montgomery's time could be wiped out if the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules that Montgomery was guilty of doping. Montgomery was charged by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency with using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.