New York, USAAt last night’s IAAF World Athletics Tour meeting in New York, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt set a new World record* for the men’s 100m in a time of 9.72 seconds.
The young Bolt, who ran 9.76 earlier this month, told the New York press on Thursday (29) that he had asked his coach for two years to be allowed to run the 100m, mostly because he did NOT want to run the 400m.
Late on Saturday evening (May 31) at the Reebok Grand Prix, which is a Grand Prix status meeting as part of the 25 fixture IAAF World Athletics Tour 2008, Bolt justified his requests by blasting down the Icahn Stadium straightaway on Randall's Island in New York City in 9.72 seconds, which pending ratification will be a new World Record, surpassing Asafa Powell's 9.74 from Rieti last September.
On Randall's Island where Leroy Burrell set a world record of 9.90 in 1991, Bolt's race was the final event of the 4th Reebok Grand Prix, cast as a duel with American Tyson Gay, the reigning 100m World champion. Gay finished second in 9.85.
The field had only one false start (charged to Mike Rodgers), which both Gay and Bolt later said was a relief for them, because they had better starts on the second attempt. Bolt explained, "I knew if I could beat Tyson out of the blocks, I could win the race."
Bolt said he considered his race "99% perfect," but refused to speculate on what kind of time a perfect race would represent. "I don't need to break the record again," he laughed. "It's mine now."
The race enjoyed a 1.7 m/s tailwind.
"The World record means nothing without gold medals in the World Championships or the Olympics," he added. "If you are the Olympic champion, they have to wait four years to try to beat you."
Gay was gracious in defeat, noting that he ran 9.85, just .01 second from his own best time, and that he was "ahead of schedule."
"We were on the same rhythm," Gay said, "but his stride was covering more ground. He's run 9.7 before, his body knows what it feels like."
Weather delays scramble schedule
After organizers delayed the start of the meet an hour in an effort to ensure favourable weather, the schedule still had to pause 40 minutes mid-meet while a brief lightning storm passed by. The rain and lightning forced organizers to clear the infield and spectators to scramble for cover, but the stands were full again when competition resumed. Even with additional seating over the previous editions, the meet was sold out an hour before its starting time, and organizers were allowing some spectators into "standing room" space on the backstretch.
World leader for Campbell-Brown
Bolt wasn't the only Jamaican sprinter putting up fast marks, as women’s World 100m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown ran 10.91 to take over the world lead.. Close behind were Americans Marshavet Hooker and Muna Lee (10.94 and 10.97 respectively), with previous list-leader Allyson Felix 5th in 11.13. Felix blamed a bad start, but said, "This doesn't discourage me." Brown, pointing out that she ran 10.93 at this meet in 2007, observed that she was "already ahead" of last year.
All-comers record for Koech
Paul Koech ran 8:01.85 in the 3000m Steeplechase, setting the U.S.
all-comers record. Koech wanted to run under 8:00, he said, but noted that it was his first steeplechase of the year, and that he was pleased to be running so fast so early. "I think I proved that I can compete in the (Kenyan) Olympic Trials," he added.
Sanya Richards moved up to 3rd on the seasonal list with a 50.04 400m.
"I would have liked to be under 50," Richards said, but added that she was pleased with the win. Dominating the field, Richards had the race under control early, adding, "I knew I would win with 150m to go."
Wallace Spearmon Jr. ran the second-fastest men's 200m of the year, a 20.07. Spearmon pointed at the clock at the race's end, but admitted later that he wasn't aware that he hadn't yet crossed the finish line.
"The clock said 19," he said. "I thought I was pointing at a new world leading time."
Reese Hoffa won the men's Shot Put with a 21.29m pitch, but he was the only one over 21m, as Adam Nelson finished second in 20.91m and world leader Christian Cantwell was third with 20.83m. Hoffa explained, "The ring was a little slower than we expected. You can't beat the atmosphere, though." Nelson concurred: "We should've been throwing farther than that."
Liu Xiang, cautious, does not start
110m hurdles World Record holder Liu Xiang opted not to compete due to tightness in his right hamstring. Although he warmed up for his race, after Liu had decided not to race he emerged on the track to apologize to his many fans. Terrence Trammell, second to Liu last summer in Osaka, won the race in 13.11. "I think that had Liu been in the race, I would have been sub-13," said Trammell, who was nevertheless happy with the win.
Stuczynski 4.80m, attempts 5.02m
Jenn Stuczynski, who set a new PB of 4.90m a week ago, won the women's pole vault with a tremendous clearance at 4.80m and asked for the bar to be set to 5.02m, which had she cleared it would have been a new World Record. Her three attempts were progressively better, but she was unable to get a clearance.
Parker Morse for the IAAF
*a World record subject to the usual ratification procedures
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