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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Jamaican breaks record in men’s 100

Asafa Powell of Jamaica clocked a 9.77 in the men's 100-meter dash.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Derek Gatopoulos Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece – Asafa Powell broke the world record in the 100 meters Tuesday with a 9.77 seconds clocking at Olympic Stadium, where the Jamaican didn’t fare nearly as well during the Athens Games last summer.

Powell shaved one-hundredth of a second off Tim Montgomery’s record of 9.78 set in Paris in 2002 – a mark that already was at risk because Montgomery faces doping charges.

During the Olympics, Powell finished fifth in 9.94. But nearly a year later, during the Tsiklitiria Super Grand Prix meeting on the same track, he was unbeatable.

“I’m very happy that I achieved this performance,” Powell said. “I knew I could break the world record and I am very happy I succeeded.”

The 22-year-old sprinter already had the world’s fastest time this year, a run of 9.84 at the Jamaica International Invitational on May 8.

He also ran a 9.85 last Thursday in the Czech Republic.

His record run came with a tailwind of 1.6 meters per second, well less than the legal limit of 2.0.

Before Montgomery’s effort, the previous record was 9.79 set by Maurice Greene on the Athens track in 1999.

“It’s amazing that, after Maurice Greene, I also achieved a world record in this stadium,” Powell said. “If you ask me what I can do more this year, you will just have to wait until the end of this year’s season to see.”

Powell is the fourth non-American to hold the 100 world record since 1912. Donovan Bailey of Canada (1996), Armin Hary of West Germany (1960) and Percy Williams of Canada (1930) are the others.

Powell’s run removed controversy from the world record.

Montgomery’s time of 9.78 could be wiped out if the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules that Montgomery was guilty of doping. Montgomery was charged by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency with using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

Aziz Zakari of Ghana finished second in 9.99, and Jamaica’s Michael Frater was third in 10.03.

In another performance of note at the meet, American Arend Watkins, a former Washington State University standout, won the men’s 110 hurdles in 13.23 seconds.