Powell keeps his promise – Athens Super Grand Prix report
Tuesday 14 June 2005
Athens, Greece - “Someone has promised me a pleasant surprise” said Minos Kyriakou, the IAAF Council Member, and President of the organising club, Panellinios A.C., of tonight’s Athens Super Grand Prix Tsiklitiria 2005. The comment came yesterday (Monday 13 June) hinting at the possibility of a World record in this year’s edition of the IAAF Super Grand Prix meeting.

No one knows who made the promise but if Asafa Powell, the IAAF Overall World Ranked number one, was the athlete concerned there is no doubt that the Jamaican sprinter was as good, if not better than, his words. Six years after Maurice Greene’s 9.79 clocking, Powell became the second runner to break the World 100m record in the Athens Olympic Stadium. He is also the second ever Jamaican to hold the record. Twenty-nine years ago, in 1976, Donald Quarrie had run the last ratified hand-timed World record for the 100m (9.9)

Powell showed his shape early tonight, running the second semi-final in 9.98, easing up in the last 20 metres. All the favourites followed him into the final, besides Britain’s Mark Francis-Lewis who clocked 10.36 in the first semi-final and so failed to participate in tonight’s final.

In the final, the 22-year-old Jamaican proved how much he wanted the World record. He had the perfect start, he ran for all he was worth, and fell full tilt into the line in the historic time of :smiley: 9.77 seconds. Tim Montgomery’s 9.78 run at the 2002 IAAF Grand Prix Final had been surpassed, and a new World record had been established.

“I knew that I could do it," commented Powell. “I did my best. It feels great to be the fastest man of the world.”

How fast can you go this season?

“Who knows? 9 something…I love Greece and I will come back here next year.”

Powell is the Overall number one athlete in the world, as announced in today’s IAAF World Rankings

''I am very happy that in my second presence here in Greece, I achieved this performance," continued Powell as few minutes later.

“It is amazing that after Maurice Greene that I also have achieved a World record in this stadium and for this marvellous meet organization.”

“I knew that I could break the World record and I am very happy that I succeeded. If you ask what I can do more this year, you will just have to wait until the end of this year’s season to see,” ended the new World record breaker

Aziz Zakari who came second (9.99): “ It is my second time in a race in which a World record was broken (Paris). That is okay. He (Asafa) deserves it. We are all athletes and today it was him, it might be me next time (running a WR). He worked hard and he deserves it. It was a great race. A world record is not a joke

Ghana’s Aziz Zakari set a personal best of 9.99 to follow the new World record holder home, while the second Jamaican in the race, Michael Frater also set a personal best with 10.04 for third.

Broken leg for Lalova

Another Jamaican, Sherone Simpson won the women’s 100m race in 11.15. But tonight it was an unlucky day for Ivet Lalova. The Bulgarian broke her right leg while warming up before the race and she now has to undergo urgent surgery, probably tomorrow in Athens. In addition, Greece’s Maria Karastamti also suffered an injury, less serious thankfully, and decided to withdraw from the race, so saving herself for the European Cup this weekend in both the 100m and 200m races.

Pittman is brilliant, while men’s contest is close - 400m Hurdles

There is no doubt that Asafa Powell was the shinning star of the meet, how could he have been anything else? But it was be no means the only scintillating performance tonight in Athens Olympic Stadium.

Both the 400m Hurdles races were especially memorable.

The clock was almost the only rival today for Australia’s Jana Pittman, the women’s World champion of 2003. Pittman destroyed her opponents’ ambitions for success in the first half of the race and then surged in the final 200m running against the clock, with her victory secure. Following a continuously accelerating pace, Pittman, a far away winner, clocked a world leading 53.44 - her second best ever time - while Poland’s Anna Jesien was second with 54.27.

The men’s race was a close contest by contrast and one of the most exiting events of the night. Greece’s Periklis Iakovakis entered the final straight in the lead, but it was then that the Olympic bronze medallist, France’s Naman Keita attacked and overtook him 60 metres before the line. Iakovakis reacted and took back the lead, only for South African Louis Van Zyl, to accelerate even faster into the finish in a personal best of 48.16. He was followed in by the Greek champion who clocked 48.24, while Keita was third in 48.32.

World leading marks for Jamal, Inzikuru and Shaheen

Maryam Jamal of Bahrain set one more world leading mark for this season, with a 3:59.13 national record PB in the women’s 1500m. The 20 year-old Jamal, who is the former Ethiopian Zenebech Tola, was helped by the early fast pace set by World champion and Olympic silver medallist Tatyana Tomashova of Russia (8th 4:04.64 – collapsed exhausted). Bouchra Ghezielle of France was second with 4:01.90 (national record), and Belarus’ Olesya Turava, was third (4:02.21).

Uganda’s Dorcus Inzikuru’s race design in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase was clearly to break the World record. Joanna Wishnieska of Poland set a fast early pace and led Izinkuru to an African record of 9:15.04, the second best clocking all-time in the world (9:01.59 is the WR - Gulanara Samitova of Russia). Inzikuru’s previous African record was 9:28.50.

In second, Wioletta Janowska set a PB of 9:25.09, followed by Kenya’s Salome Chepchumba who clocked 9:31.44. Lívia Tóth of Hungary also set a national record in fourth, 9:32.52. Of the other top eight finishers, there were also Algerian (9:38.31) and Portuguese (9:39.20) national records set.

There was another World record attempt in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase, which produced another world leading performance for this year. Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shaheen, the World champion and World record holder, attempted to improve his own mark, and was led by a fast pacemaker, Kenyan John Langat. Shaheen in the end was an easy winner setting a world leading mark of 7:57.28 which left behind Kenya’s Wilson Boit Kipketer (8:09.32) and Kipkirui Misoi (8:13.48) in second and third places respectively.

Mulaudzi – 800m victor in 1:44.12

Russia’s Olympic 800m champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy arrived in Athens a few hours before the meeting and obviously had not had enough time to rest and prepare for the race. Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, the silver Olympic medallist from South Africa took advantage of the situation and achieved tonight what he lost out on one year ago in this stadium. His winning race of 1:44.12 is also the fastest time this year, while Kenya’s Wilfried Bungei was second in 1:44.29., Borzakovskiy was just fifth in 1:44.89, his faster race of this season.

Rahouli and Oprea take Triple triumphs

Greece’s Hrysopigi Devetzi opened the women’s Triple Jump with 14.53m, but Algeria’s Baya Rahouli replied with a season’s best of 14.62 on her second attempt and improved it to 14.72 with her fifth attempt to take the win. Devetzi was second, while Sudan’s Yamile Aldama improved her season’s best to 14.36 to take the third place.

Marian Oprea recalled the brilliant moments he experienced in Athens last August, when he got the Olympic Games silver medal in the men’s Triple Jump. With a jump of 17.52m he had no difficulty winning, leaving Greek Konstantinos Zalaggitis in second with 17.17m and Cuba’s Yoandri Betanzos third, in a competition where five jumpers exceeded the 17 metres.

Watkins sets sprint Hurdles PB

In the men’s 110m Hurdles, Duane Ross had the best reaction time and led the race until the last hurdle, but he didn’t stand the strong attack from his American compatriot Arend Watkins who crossed the line first in a personal best of 13.23. Ukraine’s Sergey Demidyuk also got past Ross to finish second in 13.38. Ross was finally third with 14.43

Nerius dominated the Javelin

Steffi Nerius of Germany, the Olympic Silver medallist opened the women’s Javelin event with 65.08m, the best throw of the first series and this mark was enough to take the win. The World record holder and Olympic champion, Cuba’s Osleidys Menendez was second with 63.92m, while Aggeliki Tsiolakoudi of Greece placed third with a season’s best of 62.72m.

Benhassi and Heshko take close fought battles

Algeria’s Hasna Benhassi verified the forecasts and won the 800m in 1:59.60 with Greece’s Maria Papadopoulou in second place, 1.59.79, so becoming the first ever Greek woman to run the distance under two minutes.

The men’s 1500m brought a close fought win for Ukraine’s Ivan Heshko, who with 3:33.29 beat Najim Daham Bashir of Qatar (3:33.62) and Portugal’s Rui Silva (3:33.87).

Börgeling 5.72m, Baba 2.32m and Dietzsch 64.92m

Olympic High Jump champion Stefan Holm, was defeated in his first outdoor appearanceof this summer. Czech Jaroslav Baba cleared 2.32m to take the win, leaving Yaroslav Rybakov and Stefan Holm second on 2.30m. The Swede had said yesterday that this height was his target, for the first meeting of the season, and no one doubts that he will jump much higher in the next few meetings.

Franka Dietzsch of Germany won the women’s Discus Throw with 64.92m, ahead of Czech Vera Pospisilova (63.11m), and Russia’s Olympic champion Natalya Sadova who had a best of 62.69m.

The meeting closed with one more World record attempt, in the junior category this time, by Greece’s Konstantinos Filippidis. After breaking his own national (senior/junior) record for Greece with 5.72m (eventually enough for third equal position this evening), he bypassed 5.77m and attempted the World Pole Vault Junior record with 5.82m (5.80m is the record). Tonight he didn’t make it but he will have many chances in the coming weeks.

Germany’s Lars Börgeling was the winner of the competition with 5.77m, the same mark as his compatriot Tim Lobinger who was second. Rens Blom of The Netherlands drew with Filippidis for third.

Michalis Nikitaridis for the IAAF

9.77 for ASAFA POWELL. god what a talent! with that consistency over the past weeks, it was bound to happen. Well done big man! … okay i think its time we take some splits of the race and lets start comparing to mo, johnson etc

It was just a matter of time. Wow. And to think this is barely the beginning of this kids career. Can this kid do what Michael Johnson did in the 200? :eek:

Frickin amazing! Given the new tougher testing for designer steroids.

Montgomery set his record before the whole Balco Labs scandal took place did he not? They didn’t even have a test for THG back then.

Congrats to Powell. Can he go lower?

Powell Sets New Sprint Mark.
Tue 14 Jun, 10:09 PM

Asafa Powell claimed the world 100 metres record with a lightning victory in tonight’s Tsikilitira Super Grand Prix in Athens.


Powell bettered the record of 9.78 seconds set by Tim Montgomery in 2002, who in turn had surpassed the mark set by Maurice Greene of 9.79secs on the same Olympic stadium track almost to the day in 1999.

The 22-year-old Jamaican trounced the field, scorching to a runaway success in 9.77secs - although he had to wait several minutes to hear the record was definitely his.

Initially the scoreboard showed, that with a helpful following wind of 1.6metres-per-second, he had equalled the time achieved by Montgomery in Paris.

But just as in the other sprint races, the official electrical timing confirmed he was the new world record holder - the first non-American since Donovan Bailey won the 1996 Olympic gold medal for Canada.

Powell, who instantly drew well clear of runner-up Aziz Zakari of Ghana and his fellow countryman Michael Frater who clocked personal bests of 9.99secs and 10.03secs, was elated with his stunning success.

It might never erase the disappointment of his last appearance on the Greek track, when he was fifth in last August’s Olympic final after entering as favourite.

Despite that loss, Powell was still named world number one for the year after running nine legal sub-10 seconds races throughout the season.

“Nothing makes up for the Olympics, but this was showing the world I could have done it ,” said Powell after failing to win a medal in the most important race of his life.

“I never got the chance then, but I did it tonight,” said Powell, whose showing clearly indicates he will go to August’s World Championships with bags of self-confidence.

Powell admitted: “I never knew it would really happen. I did have it on my mind but came here to do my best and it was a world record.”

The victory came only five days after he won the Ostrava Super Grand Prix in 9.85secs in shocking conditions.

“I have done a little more training and it worked out perfect,” admitted Powell who in May posted the world’s fastest time of 9.84secs and equalled Bailey’s Commonwealth record on home soil in Kingston.

He admitted: "It’s really surprising to see I ran this time at this stage of the season.

“Now I’ll just have to wait for them (the world championships) to get started and see what happens,” added Powell, praising his rivals although they were never in contention during the frantic dash.

“I can say they ran pretty well and that’s real good,” he insisted: “I’m happy to have ran with the guys.”

Powell’s new mark erased Montgomery’s record.

Montgomery is still waiting to hear whether he will be banned for life and the Court for Arbitration in Sport is expected shortly to announce its decision.

“Yes, it’s really good for the sport,” said Powell brimming with confidence, “and next time I’ll see if I can go faster.”

Jason Gardener finished last in 10.29secs after posting a season’s best of 10.13secs in his heat.

“I suffered cramp in my calfs just before the start,” said the European Indoor 60m gold medallist, "I’m really gutted.

“I came here really focused to run quickly, I’m really disappointed and now have to sort myself out.”

Mark Lewis-Francis fared even worse. Five days before he represents the Norwich Union GB side at the European Cup final in Florence he failed to make the final.

The 22-year-old Midlander after a sluggish start finished only sixth in his heat, with a slow time of 10.36secs.

Commonwealth champion Chris Rawlinson struggled in his 400m hurdles race when he could only manage seventh place in a time of 49.61secs.

But it was the Yorkshireman’s fastest time of the year, although not matching the class of South African winner Louis Van Zyl.

Van Zyl, the world junior champion three years ago, flew to a personal best of 48.16secs, ahead of Periklis Iakovakis of Greece and Frenchman Naman Keita whose times of 48.24secs and 48.32secs, were their quickest of the season.

Now Rawlinson, like Lewis-Francis, will need to pick himself up for the weekend’s action in the Italian city where they face tough opposition in their Super League fixture.

Larry Achike produced his best triple jump showing of the season, clearing a distance of 17.03 metres.

The 2000 Olympic finalist finished a creditable fifth on countback, in a competition won by Romania’s Marian Oprea with a lengthy leap of 17.52m.

Goldie Sayers, who made her Olympic javelin debut in Athens last summer, was not far short of her personal best with 61.26m for fifth place.

Sayers unleashed her best effort in the second round in a contest won by Germany’s Stefi Nerius with a throw of 65.08m.

Looks like Jana is doing well! Well done girl, you deserve it - and nice to see the english weather isn’t hurting your performance too much. Well done to Chris and Nick as well for doing a good job with the coaching.