LONDON, July 31 (AFP) - Jamaica’s Asafa Powell hammered out an Athens warning on Friday when he ran the fastest 100 metres ever seen in Britain to edge out Olympic champion Maurice Greene.
Powell won in 9.91sec with American Greene, the former world record holder, finishing in second place in 9.97sec.
Leonard Scott, also of the United States, finished third in 10.04sec after top Britons Jason Gardener, Darren Campbell and Mark Lewis-Francis failed to make the final at the London Grand Prix being staged at Crystal Palace.
World and Commonwealth champion Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis was a disappointing fifth place in the final.
It's all about running fast and beating Maurice,'' said Powell who has not been beaten this year. I could have gone even faster but the starting blocks slipped back. But I am building up my confidence for the Games.’’
Despite his defeat, Greene said he was still optimistic about winning back-to-back Olympic golds in Athens next month.
My start was shaky but he ran a great race,'' said the American. But as far as the Olympics are concerned, it doesn’t matter what happened here. I’ll be ready for Athens.’’
Meanwhile, Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva set a new women’s pole vault record for the second time in a week when she cleared 4.90m. She broke her own record of 4.89m which she set in Birmingham on Sunday.
In the women’s 800m, Mozambique’s Maria Mutola struggled in the home straight before just finishing ahead of Ait Hammou of Morocco in a time of 1min 59.17sec while Kelly Holmes took victory in the 1500m.
It was a welcome return to form for Mutola who had suffered her first defeat in 37 outings in Lausanne three weeks ago.
Britain’s javelin hope Steve Backley, competing at Crystal Palace for the final time, threw a season’s best 83.42m but still finished second behind Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen.
I can take a lot of positives from this into Athens,'' said the 35-year-old Backley who will retire after the Olympics. My form is going in the right direction. I threw 79m in Gateshead, 81m in the trials and 83m tonight so I know there’s a big throw in there.’’
In the 400m hurdles, Britain’s Chris Rawlinson confirmed his place as a possible medal contender in Athens by winning comfortably.
Ethiopia’s Haile Gebreselassie, who will quit the track in favour of the marathon next year, will be defending his 10,000m title in Athens and he grabbed a confidence-boosting win in the 5,000m here with a late charge to defeat giant Australian Craig Mottram.
Gebreselassie, a double Olympic and four-time world champion, faces a huge task in Athens where he must resist the challenge of countryman Kenenisa Bekele who has snatched both of his 5,000m and 10,000m world records this season.