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JAMAICA - Commonwealth Games in Melbourne - March 2006

Jamaica's world champion Asafa Powell (rear) and Jamaica's Sheri-Anne Brooks TWINS: Jamaica's world champion Asafa Powell (rear) and Jamaica's Sheri-Anne Brooks celebrate together with their national flag after they both won gold in their respective 100 metre finals at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Compliments of the Nation News by BARRY ALLEYNEin Melbourne

FOR THE world's fastest man, it appeared to be a case of better safe than sorry.

For 79 000 fans who crammed into "the G" on a night dubbed "Magnificent Monday" it turned out to be quite an anticlimax.

But don't tell that to Asafa Powell.

The 23-year-old Jamaican finally put something beside his name other than an asterisk, winning the marquee 100-metre sprint at this 18th Commonwealth Games last night.

Powell had placed a disappointed fifth at the 2004 Olympics, then injury forced him to miss last year's World Championships, so apart from his blazing 9.77 second world-best, the muscular Jamaican was still without a gold medal at a major world track and field meet.

But that all ended on a clear, chilly night in Melbourne, as Powell was a cut above the other seven finalists, shutting down his engine with 12 metres left, easily winning the gold at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Faster than any other athlete in the world over the past 18 months, it was clear Powell had no intentions of attempting to better his 9.77 seconds world record, finishing in 10.03 seconds, the fastest time ever in Melbourne, but only equal to his semi-final time an hour earlier.

In second spot was Nigeria's Soji Fasuba, who was timed at 10.11 seconds, ahead of Trinidad's Marc Burns in 10.17, who through the rounds had actually looked to be Powell's biggest challenge, but was up-ended by a slow start in the final and had to settle for bronze.

"I just wanted to get it over with," Powell said between breaths after taking a victory lap with the Jamaican flag draped across his shoulders.

Powell's win actually completed a double for his country, as ten minutes earlier, teammate Sheri-Ann Brooks easily won the women's equivalent in a personal best time of 11.19 seconds. South Africa's Geraldine Pillay took silver in 11.31 seconds, and Delphine Atangana of Cameroon the bronze in 11.39 seconds.

"I'm also very happy for Sheri, and for Jamaica," Powell added.

The new Commonwealth Games champ made a promise though, to attempt breaking his world record sometime in 2006. "This is my first real competition for the year, so further down in the season I'll try to break the record." Powell did flirt with danger in his semi-final heat, crossing over from Lane 6 into Lane 5 momentarily while looking at the clock as he cruised home, but he wasn't disqualified,

Compliments of the Nation News


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