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September 8, 2009

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Home » Sports » Athletics

Powell clocks 9.99 against wind

A STRONG headwind slowed Asafa Powell at the Rieti Grand Prix in Italy on Sunday, with the Jamaican still clocking an impressive 9.99 seconds on the track where he set a then-world record of 9.74 two years ago.

Powell was hoping to improve on his season best of 9.84 that got him third at last month's world championships in Berlin, when Usain Bolt set the current world record of 9.58.

Powell's fellow Jamaican and training partner Nesta Carter was the runner-up in 10.08 and Simeon Williamson of Britain crossed third in 10.18. The wind registered minus 1.5 meters.

"It was a very strong wind," Powell said. "When I saw the wind blowing today I was like, 'It's not going to be a fast race.'"

There was also a headwind for the semifinals, which Powell led in 10.12 despite slowing down before the finish. In 2007, Powell set his record in the semifinals.

Powell believes he can still challenge Bolt. "To be running these fast times is outstanding. He really needs some strong competition - he's running 9.5 - so we need to get there too to put on a good show," Powell said. "Before, I was the man to beat. Now I have someone in front of me, so I really have to push myself."

Another member of Powell's training group, Olympic and recently crowned world champion Shelly Ann Fraser, won the women's 100 in 11.18 - into a headwind of 2.4.

Olympic silver medalist Sherone Simpson was the runner-up in 11.37 and Gloria Asumnu of the United States was third in 11.52. Kerron Stewart, the Olympic and world silver medalist in the 100, won the 200 in 22.62, with Berlin 400 runner-up Shericka Williams crossing second in 22.69.

American sprinter Wallace Spearmon won the men's 200 in 20.27 after placing sixth in the 100.

In addition to Powell's mark, six middle- and long-distance world records have been set at the Raul Guidobaldi stadium over the years. While no more marks were set on Sunday, there was still a noteworthy performance in the 800 meters by David Rudisha. In perhaps the outstanding performance of the night, the Kenyan clocked 1:42.01 to break Sammy Koskei's 25-year-old African record of 1:42.28 and register the best performance of the year.

The 20-year-old Rudisha was eliminated in the semifinals at the worlds last month on a cold and rainy evening. "I had problems with the cold, so it's good to know that I'm in form," Rudisha said.

Berlin runner-up Alfred Kirwa Yego was again second, in 1:42.67, and world champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi crossed third in 1:42.86.


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