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Justin Gatlin shatters world mark

Doha: World and Olympic champion Justin Gatlin broke the 100m world record with a time of 9.76 seconds at an IAAF Super Tour meeting on Friday.

The 24-year-old American beat the previous mark of 9.77 set by Jamaica’s Asafa Powell in Athens in June last year to finish ahead of Nigeria’s Olusoji Fasuba (9.84) and fellow-American Shawn Crawford (10.08), the Olympic 200 metres champion.

“I am the best of the best because I am the Olympic champion, the world champion and the world record-holder now,” Gatlin told newsmen.

“I thought I would do it and I kept my word. I am a man who likes challenges and my acceleration today was phenomenal.”

Gatlin announced he had his sights set on the world record earlier this week after clocking 9.95 seconds in his first outing of the season in Osaka last Saturday.

He recorded the previous fastest time in the world this year, 9.85 seconds, in the Doha semi-final. Gatlin and Powell, who also ran 9.95 in Kingston at the weekend, are due to clash at a Grand Prix meeting in Gateshead, England, on June 11.

The pair last met on the track in London last July when Powell pulled up with a groin problem that put paid to his season.

Gatlin said the world record could go again later in 2006. “The timings could be further improved this year, probably in Europe,” said Gatlin, who dedicated his record to God and his parents. Gatlin, who started off as hurdler, went on to win six NCAA sprint titles before taking the US and world indoor 60m titles in 2003.

In 2005, he won the world 100m title in Helsinki in 9.88 seconds by the biggest margin (0.17) in the history of the championships. He also led an American clean sweep in the 200, winning in 20.04 to become only the second man after compatriot Maurice Greene to complete the double.

(Reuters)

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