Powell equals Carl Lewis’s record
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By Mike Hurst
September 11, 2007 12:00am
JAMAICAN Asafa Powell yesterday equalled Carl Lewis as the most prolific 100m world record runner in the modern era - and says he can go faster.
Powell took the 100m mark down to 9.74sec at the IAAF Grand Prix in Rieti, Italy - the fourth time he has broken the record.
Powell broke American Maurice Greene’s record in 2005 when he ran 9.77sec and he equalled it twice last year before setting the new mark in the low-key meet.
When asked how low he could take the world mark, Powell said: " I could run 9.68."
Powell clocked 9.74 (tailwind 1.7m/sec) in his heat, then backed up 50 minutes later to win the final in 9.78 with an official wind reading of nil.
Since the introduction of fully automatic electronic timing in 1968, only Lewis has run four world 100m records.
Lewis set two of his records behind Johnson in Rome in 1987 and Seoul in 1988, but when the Canadian’s marks were expunged after he was caught for doping, Lewis was belatedly credited with a pair of records.
However, while Lewis won nine Olympic and eight world championship gold medals, Powell’s has to date garnered only a 100m bronze medal and a 4x100m relay silver medal, both at the world championships in Osaka, Japan.
Powell’s record yesterday came in his 18th race of the season - he also needed 18 races last year to equal his previous world record - but it comes a fortnight too late, with Powell no match for America’s Tyson Gay in Osaka in the world 100m final run on August 26.
“In Osaka, I was too tense,” Powell said.
"I thought too much about my race and the time I was hoping to achieve. On the other hand I was very relaxed in coming here (Rieti). That means I could run 9.68.
“After the world championships, where I made several mistakes, I worked with my coach so that I could regain my best form. Now I’m back.”
In Osaka the Commonwealth champion ran third in 9.96 seconds behind Gay (9.85) and Powell’s second cousin, Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas (9.91).
The Gold Coast’s Sally McLellan also found Rieti to her liking, clocking 11.30sec (tailwind 0.4m/s) to win her first 100m race in Europe.
The three-time Australian champion defeated some highly credentialled sprinters including American Stephanie Dunst (11.37), Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (11.38) from the Bahamas and Asafa Powell’s training partner and last year’s world No.1 sprinter Sherone Simpson (11.43).