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I’m yet to run my best time: Greene

Portland: The dream lives on for Maurice Greene, even in defeat.

On some warm European afternoon or evening this summer, perhaps with a puff of wind to his back, the Olympic and world champion fully believes he will recapture the 100-metre world record Tim Montgomery stunningly acquired last September.

“The world record knows its rightful home,” a confident Greene said.

“Getting the world record back, I’m not worried about that, because I know I will eventually do it.”

The three-time world champion was far from any such goal in his first 100 metres of the season at the weekend though.

Greene clocked 10.33 seconds to place third behind Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kim Collins and American John Capel as snow fell in the distant mountains and spectators, wearing ski caps, huddled under blankets at the Oregon Track Classic.

“I know what I have to do and I will do it,” Greene said afterwards. “I have not run the best time of my life.”

His desire to run “9.8 every time I step on the track” this season was swept away by a poor start and the chilly, damp conditions. Yet, the American said he still believed “I will run in the 9.7s at least three times this year.”

His goal is 9.76 seconds or better, which would snatch the world record back from compatriot Montgomery.

However, Michael Johnson, world 200 and 400 record holder, believes Montgomery’s record of 9.78 seconds will withstand all assaults this season.

“You have to look at it realistically, his (Greene’s) career has been unbelievable, no guy stays on top that long in the 100 but...it’s over,” Johnson said on Tuesday. “Not that he still won’t have some good races but it’s over him dominating. I can’t see it happening.

“He’s going to have some fast races but he’s not going to dominate anymore. Guys now realise he can be beaten.”

In the performance of the season, Montgomery clocked a stunning 9.78 seconds at Paris’ Grand Prix final to eclipse Greene’s 1999 record by 0.01 seconds.

“It’s all about running the right race,” Greene said. Fitness cost the 28-year-old Greene dear last year. Seven times he was beaten in major 100-metre races. He kept running only because he had made a commitment to the sport’s governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Now Greene is approaching the fitness level of his 2000 Olympic season, his coach, John Smith, said.Training began in late October and a pair of early 200 metres showed Greene to be on course for a run at the record, and a fourth consecutive world 100-metre title in Paris in August.

“I will be the world champion at 100 and 200 metres,” Greene said last week, pledging a repeat of his dual titles at Seville in 1999.

He defended only his 100-metre title in 2001 but that victory came over Montgomery in a stirring race remembered both for its time (9.82 seconds) and the quadriceps injury Greene suffered 10 metres from the finish.

Greene did not run again in 2001. Then came the ill-fated 2002 campaign in which he started training late and paid for it in the second half of the season. He beat Montgomery in the US championships but by the time the Grand Prix final arrived in September, Greene was in the stands watching Montgomery turn an explosive start into a world-record run.

Greene will not easily forget that run and especially the fact that it came with the maximum allowable aiding wind for record purposes, 2.0 metres per seconds.

“He has to be one of the luckiest people in the world,” Greene said. “When he ran 9.84 (Montgomery’s previous personal best) he had a 2.0 wind,” Greene said. “He goes to Paris and he has a 2.0 wind.

“He’s the only man who can get a race and have a 2.0 wind most of the time. You take that wind away and it’s only a 9.93, 9.94 race.”

American fans will not even see the two men duel in their national championships next month. Montgomery will run the 100 and Greene the 200 in the meeting at Stanford, California. Greene will make a one-round appearance in the 100 “just to give people a show” but the odds of the two being in the same preliminary race are long.

“I don’t think Tim wants to run against me right now,” said Greene.

“He wouldn’t talk about me so much if he really was ready,” added Greene, who is confirmed for Lausanne, Rome and Paris in July but does not know if Montgomery will be there. “Everything you hear him say is something about me, or how he is going to erase every record that I have. He has a long way to go if he wants to come and mess with me.”

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