Athletics: Gardener on record pace again

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Jason Gardener's season of high-speed promise continued to gather momentum yesterday as the "Bath Bullet" hit his target of a place in the record books at the Norwich Union World Trials and AAA Indoor Championships in Sheffield.

The 28-year-old blitzed to victory in the 60m final, breaking his own championship record for the second time in the day and clocking the fastest time in the world for the third time in two weeks. It was also his fourth AAA indoor title at the metric sprint distance, a feat no other British sprinter has achieved, although Bob Frith won the 60 yards twice and the 60m twice in the 1960s.

After winning his semi-final in 6.51 seconds, one hundredth of a second inside his four-year-old championship record, Gardener improved to 6.49sec in the final 90 minutes later, missing his European record by a mere 0.03sec.

Since the bitter disappointment of failing to secure an individual 100m place in Britain's World Championship team last summer, the West Country man has opened his season with four wins in four competitions. He looks an increasingly strong bet for gold at the World Indoor Championships in Budapest next month.

Not that Gardener's was the only notable sprint yesterday. After finishing runner-up in the Millrose Games Mile at New York's Madison Square Garden at 9pm on Friday, James Thie jumped in a yellow cab to Kennedy airport still wearing his kit, and arrived in Sheffield at 4.45pm yesterday to find the scheduled heats of the 1500m had been replaced by a straight final. In the circumstances, taking the silver medal behind the Commonwealth champion Michael East, 75 minutes later, qualified the Cardiff athlete for long-distance sprint of the day.