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Powell vows to regain world record from Gatlin

Gatlin's record winning performance clipped one-hundredth of a second off the Jamaican Asafa Powell's 2005 record.

india Updated: May 13, 2006 14:41 IST
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Jamaica's Asafa Powell has a message for Justin Gatlin - the man who broke his 100 meters world record.

"Tell Justin congratulations but the record is on loan," Powell said shortly after the American clocked 9.76 seconds in Doha, Qatar on Friday.

The performance clipped one-hundredth of a second off Powell's 2005 world record and earned the 24-year-old Gatlin the triple crown of sprinting.

The soft-spoken sprinter, who once thought about being an artist, joins compatriots Carl Lewis and Maurice Greene and Canadian Donovan Bailey as the only male 100 meters runners to win Olympic and world championship golds and set a world record.

"If their rivalry wasn't big enough yet, the suspense of the first race this season has just multiplied," Powell's agent, Paul Doyle said.

The two are scheduled to meet for the first time this year at Gateshead, England on June 11 and several more clashes could take place in the European summer.

They only raced twice last year with Gatlin winning both encounters as Powell suffered a groin injury in the second meeting that forced him out of the world championships.

However, both are healthy now and ready to take their rivalry to a new level.

"I'm trying to go 9.74, 9.73. The race on Friday really wasn't one of my best races," Gatlin said in Qatar.

Despite fulfilling his recent boasts, Gatlin admitted that setting the world record so early in the season had surprised him.

"I know I was talking a lot and wanted to do it and was really focused on it, but I did not think it would come my second race into the season," he said during a news conference.

His game plan from the beginning of training at the latter end of last season was to break the record this year and that focus had not changed, even with the 9.76 clocking, he said.

"I am actually more motivated now to go out there and run a faster time," Gatlin said.

Both he and Powell will compete in the May 28 Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon but in different events.

Gatlin was scheduled to run 100 meters there and Powell the 200 meters, Doyle confirmed on Friday.

Gatlin also will run 100 meters at New York on June 3, the day after Powell is slated to race the same distance at Oslo in a tune-up for their Gateshead showdown.

Powell was the world record holder when the Gateshead showdown was arranged.

"Now I am the fastest in the world," Gatlin said. "It feels great."

First Published: May 13, 2006 14:41 IST