Asafa Powell with World record clock (© AFP/Getty Images)
“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 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.
Click here - Powell’s comments after the race
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.
Click here - Powell is the best male athlete in the world - latest IAAF World Rankings
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
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