Dayron Robles upstaged the 100 metres world record holder Usain Bolt at last night's Ostrava meeting in the Czech Republic by producing a world record of his own as he registered 12.87sec in the 110m hurdles.
While Bolt's first 200m of the season had taken up most of the pre-event publicity – he won in the swift but not startling time of 19.83sec – the 21-year-old Cuban offered up what he described afterwards as "a perfect race" to take 0.01sec off the mark set by China's Olympic and world champion Liu Xiang.
The meeting also saw Britain's only world champion, Christine Ohuruogu, win her first 400m of the season in 51.06sec, the fastest time by a European this year. In the men's 400m there was another British victory as Martyn Rooney continued his promising run of form with a time of 45.32sec.
The night belonged to Robles, however – although he was kept on tenterhooks before the extent of his achievement was revealed. For two minutes the clock at the finish line registered 12.88 before the time was amended downwards.
"As soon as I saw 12.87 I just went crazy," Robles said. "It was the perfect race, but I think I can run even faster. Whether I can beat Liu Xiang in Beijing now. We will have to see."
The Chinese idol is having a hard time of it at the moment. He had to pull out of the New York meeting on 31 May, where Bolt ran his 100m mark of 9.72sec, with a sore hamstring and then false started at last Sunday's Prefontaine Classic in Oregon. Now he finds himself entering an Olympics on home soil as only the second fastest athlete.
It was a measure of Robles' excellence that he demoralised the experienced American Terence Trammell, who commented after finishing a distant second in 13.21sec: "After the eighth hurdle I just thought 'forget it'."
Robles' coach, Santiago Antunez, added: "When Dayron ran 7.33sec indoors I knew he was capable of beating both the indoor and outdoor world records. He was feeling great tonight and I was expecting something magical. To beat the world record you have to have a perfect race, but it has been easy here."
Bolt, whose next race is at the Jamaican Olympic trials on 27–29 June, declared himself "very happy" with a time that was only 0.08sec slower than his national record.Reuse content