Athletics: Gatlin makes fast riposte to Powell

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A day after Asafa Powell demonstrated his awesome capabilities in toying with the field at the Bislett Games, where he won the 100m with contemptuous ease in 9.98sec, his co-world record holder Justin Gatlin responded with an equally impressive performance on the other side of the Atlantic, running 9.87sec at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York on a evening when Meseret Defar of Ethiopia set a women's 5,000m world record of 14min 24.53sec.

Gatlin's time was accomplished in chilly, overcast conditions into a headwind of 1.7 metres per second, making it equivalent in value to his world record-equalling run of 9.77sec in Athens last month.

"All week I was looking at the weather forecast and thinking, 'it's going to be 80 degrees'," said the 24-year-old Brooklyn-born sprinter. "And all day I kept saying, 'It's going to clear up. It's going to clear up.' But you still have to go out there and run. It's the sign of a good runner to go out and run a good time despite the conditions."

Defar's time broke the world record of 14.24.68 set in 2004 by her former fellow countrywoman Elvan Abeylegesse, who was running for her adopted country of Turkey. Marion Jones, meanwhile, won the 100m in 11.06sec in her first race in the United States for almost a year.