NEW YORK, June 1, 2008 (AFP) – Jamaica’s Usain Bolt clocked a 100m world record of 9.72sec Saturday to electrify the Reebok Grand Prix athletics meeting. The 21-year-old broke the previous record of 9.74 set by compatriot Asafa Powell in Rieti, Italy, on September 9, 2007.
With a favorable wind of 1.7m/sec, Bolt finished ahead of 100m and 200m World Champion Tyson Gay of the United States (9.85) and American Darvis Patton (10.07).
On a night when thunderstorms and the threat of lightning forced a 45 minute disruption to the action – and that after the start of the meet was delayed for an hour – Bolt delivered the real jolt of the night.
The 1.95m tall Jamaican immediately became the man to beat as the athletics season builds toward the Beijing Olympics in August, with Gay, Powell and the rest of the world’s sprinters relegated to the role of challengers.
“This world record doesn’t mean a thing unless I get the Olympic gold medal, or win at the World Championships,” he said.
Bolt, the 200m world championships silver medallist, had set the athletics world buzzing on May 3, when he clocked 9.76 – then the second-fastest time in histo