Asafa Powell claimed he could run even faster after making up for his World Championship disappointment by breaking his own world 100 metres record yesterday.
Jamaican Powell ran 9.74 seconds in Rieti, knocking 0.03secs from his previous best, a mark he has achieved on three occasions in the last two years.
The 24-year-old was a disappointing third at the recent World Championships in Osaka but claims he is now back to his best after setting the new benchmark in his semi-final at the Italian meeting.
“I proved to the world that Asafa is back,” said Powell. “I ran easily in my heat.
“I made some mistakes in Osaka but today I competed as I normally do.
“I was nervous in Osaka because I did not compete much this season. I forgot how I should have run in the last 40m of a race.”
Powell was beaten by his great rival Tyson Gay in Japan with Derrick Atkins snatching the silver medal.
“I will not say it was a revenge after Osaka,” he added.
“There the expectations were too high. I thought too much about the world record, but I have done a lot of work in the last two weeks.
“I learned again to run from the start and to be more relaxed.
“Today I could have run under 9.70sec. I would have loved to have run 9.68.
“When I ran 9.77 twice last year I always thought I could have run faster.
“If I had had a more favourable tail wind in the final I could have run faster.”
Powell first ran 9.77 at the Athens Super Grand Prix in June 2005.
He matched that time at the Norwich Union Grand Prix in Gateshead in June 2006 and again two months later in the Zurich Golden League meeting.
Powell’s new record – which was aided by a trailing wind of 1.7metres per second – could have been even better had he not slowed up approaching the line.
He added: “It felt pretty relaxed, my biggest concern was getting ready for the final.”
In that final, he ran 9.78 to finish well ahead of countryman Michael Frater and Norway’s Saidy Ndura Jaysuma.
Powell now holds the world record outright.
American Justin Gatlin also ran 9.77 in May last year, although he is likely to have his performance annulled if he is found guilty of an anti-doping violation.