December 21 2006 at 08:13PM
By Roy Kammerer
Berlin - The world record in the 100m sprint can be lowered by another half-second before man reaches his limits, according to an expert in the field of extreme values.
The men will hit a wall when Asafa Powell’s current record of 9.77 seconds mark is reduced to 9.29, a study by Professor John Einmahl of Germany’s Tilberg university predicted Thursday.
The Dutch mathematician studied world records in 14 disciplines, feeding the best marks of 1 546 male and 1 024 female athletes into a computer.
Male marathoners may not like the findings - it concluded Paul Tergat’s record of 2:04:55 can only be bettered by 49 seconds.
“For a lot of athletes it is probably depressing when they are confronted with our extreme values,” Einmahl told the German news agency dpa. “But this is a very serious study - the extreme theory as a part of mathematics and statistics is an accepted science.”
Einmahl’s past studies include extreme stock market prices, the height needed in dams to control huge floods and a study funded by the insurance field over the highest possible damage claims.
Women marathoners have plenty of room to shatter Paula Radcliffe’s current marathon mark of 2:15.25. They can be expected to lower it by 8:50.
Michael Johnson’s 200 record of 19.32 could drop to 18.63, while athletes can lower Liu Xiang’s 110-meter hurdle mark of 12.88 by a half second.
Einmahl acknowledged there is room for extraordinary performances that will turn his results upside down. He said his field doesn’t recognize the impossible, but accepts the unbelievable.
“Who would have thought Bob Beamon would jump 8.90m on October 18, 1968?” he said.
Beamon never again came close to his long jump record, set in the high altitude of Mexico City. It shattered the old record by 55cm (21 3/4 inches) and stood for 23 years. - Sapa-AP