Rieti, Italy, 9 September 2007 - Asafa Powell of Jamaica set a new world men’s 100 metres record here today of 9.74sec, timed by Omega and beating his own record by 0.03sec. What made Powell's achievement more remarkable was the fact that he made the time in the heats, easing up in the final metres. He won the final in a time of 9.78.
At the world athletics championships last month Powell finished a disappointing third behind American Tyson Gay and Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas. Powell's previous world record was set on 14 June 2005 in Athens, a time he equalled twice last year (Gateshead, England, on 11 June and Zürich on 18 August).
“Today I proved to the world that Asafa is back,” said Powell. “I made some mistakes in Osaka but today I competed as I normally should do. I was nervous in Osaka because I did not compete much this season. I forgot how I should have run in the last 40 metres of a race.
“I will not say today was a revenge after Osaka. There the expectations were too high. I thought too much about the world record, but I have done a lot of work in the last two weeks. I learnt again to run from the start and to be more relaxed.
“Today I could have run under 9.70. I would have loved to have run 9.68. When I ran 9.77 twice last year I always thought I could have run faster. If I had had a more favourable tail-wind in the final I could have run faster. The atmosphere was so special. I have a special relationship with Italy as this is where I am based for training each summer.”
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