Asafa Powell cruised to victory in the 100m final of the Rieti IAAF Grand Prix in Italy on Sunday after breaking his own world record in his heat.
The Jamaican set the record of 9,74 seconds and then was back on the track about 90 minutes later to run 9,78 in the final.
It was an emphatic return for Powell, who was a disappointing third at the Osaka World Championships last month behind American rival Tyson Gay and Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas.
Powell’s compatriot Michael Frater came second with a time of 10,03 seconds and Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure was third in 10,10.
”I worked a lot after the disappointment in Osaka to correct all my mistakes. I was much more fluid,” said Powell, who had run 9,77 three times. ”Zero tension, zero pressure.”
Powell set his latest record in the second of two heats, and even eased at the end to save something for the final.
”This means that I can do even 9,68,” the Jamaican said. ”I’m worth that time, I know it.”
The record was set with a strong tail wind, but it was below the maximum allowed by the IAAF, making the record valid.
”Today [Sunday] I ran like I should have done at the worlds,” Powell said.
”At Osaka I was too tense, I was thinking about the race and the time I had to set. Instead here I was relaxed.”
After winning the final, Powell celebrated amid a crowd of photographers on the field of Raul Guidobaldi Stadium, throwing a bouquet of flowers into the stands. He also ran a lap of honor, shaking hands with fans and signing autographs.
Powell is only the fourth non-American to hold the 100m world record since 1912. Donovan Bailey of Canada (1996), Armin Hary of West Germany (1960) and Percy Williams of Canada (1930) are the others. — Reuters, Sapa-AP