Boldon 9.86 in AthensPressure on Bailey's record mounts
Trinidad and Tobago's Ato Boldon, world champion in the 200m, marked two of the world's fastest times this season when he clocked 9.86 in the 100m, running into a slight headwind, and 19.88 in the 200m in the Tsiklitira International Track Meet in Athens on Wednesday 17 June. Boldon had previously run the same 100m time in Walnut (USA) on 19 April, but was aided on that occasion by a 1.8 m/s tailwind.
With the Greek passion of athletics bolstered by last year's IAAF World Championships in Athletics, a 45,000 crowd watched as the 24 year old left Namibia's Frank Fredericks in his wake to take the tape just two hundredths of a second off Donovan Bailey's 1996 world record time of 9.84. Following the race, Boldon said that he was disappointed with the result: "I came here to get the world record. I ran faster than Ben Johnson did on steroids....This wasn't a great race: the wind just didn't cooperate!"
Nigerian stalwart Osmond Ezinwa took third place in 10.21.
In the 200m, Boldon shattered the previous season's best of 20.03, set by American Maurice Greene in Walnut, setting the new season's best of 19.88. Greene was not present in this IAAF Permit meeting, but will be making his own attack on Bailey's record in the US Championships in New Orleans starting Friday, 19 June.
Britain's Colin Jackson won the 110m hurdles in 13.15, fourth-fastest so far this season, and marked 10.31 in the 100m. Jackson is to double-up on the two events in next month's European Cup meeting in St. Petersburg: the selection trials for the European teams for the IAAF World Cup in Athletics in Johannesburg in September.
Two national records were set in Athens: Fiona May of Italy bettered her Italian long jump record from 7.02 to 7.03m and Jean Galfione, the 96 Olympic champion in the pole vault, set a new French national mark of 5.97 metres.