Archive for Thursday, May 18, 2006

Gatlin must share 100-meter mark

Sprinter’s time adjusted to 9.77 after error revealed

May 18, 2006


— Not so fast, Justin.

American sprinter Justin Gatlin thought he broke the 100-meter world record Friday at the Qatar Grand Prix in Doha, earning the title of world's fastest man.

It turns out he only equaled the record and will have to share it with Jamaican rival Asafa Powell.

A timing error prompted the sport's governing body Wednesday to take away Gatlin's announced record of 9.76 seconds. The International Association of Athletics Federations said his time was recorded at 9.766, and should have been rounded up manually to 9.77.

Gatlin's time now has been adjusted to 9.77 and, pending ratification, will equal the record set by Powell in Athens, Greece, on June 14, 2005.

The IAAF said it acted after being informed of the error by Tissot Timing.

"The IAAF rounding rule, to be initiated manually on the timing system, had not been activated as instructed," Tissot said in a statement from its Swiss headquarters. "Tissot Timing regrets the occurrence and apologizes for this unique incident."

The IAAF uses times recorded to one-hundredth of a second, with figures always rounded up.

"We're very disappointed for Justin, but we think he's got all the talent to get the record again soon," IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said. "It's better to have an honest result."

Davies said it was believed to be the first time a world record had been taken away days later because of a timing adjustment. Gatlin's agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, said, "It's an embarrassment to our sport that something of this magnitude could be blown like that.

"Justin's a trooper, he's a sportsman," Nehemiah said. "He recognizes all he can do is run, and that's what he did. He ran to the best of his ability."

Davies said IAAF experts had checked and found that Powell was also measured at "9.76-something" when he set the record.

"It's 9.77," he said. "We are convinced that both ran around the same time."

When Powell set the record last year, he bettered the mark of 9.79 set by Maurice Greene in Athens in June 1999. Tim Montgomery's mark of 9.78, set in Paris in 2002, was wiped off the books when he was suspended for two years based on information uncovered in the BALCO doping scandal.


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