World Record falls to Montgomery - 9.78!
14 September 2002 - Paris - American Tim Montgomery dramatically stole the show
in Paris with a 9.78 100m World Record, that unexpectedly deprived Morocco's
Hicham El Guerrouj of the Overall men's Grand Prix title at the 18th IAAF Grand
Just moments after the start of the men's 100m,
all the well rehearsed predictions and analysis about who would win the
Overall Men's Grand Prix title, quickly became waste paper on the floor of the
press tribune of the Stade Charlety.
All the pre-event talk had been of El Guerrouj
and Dominican Republic's Felix Sanchez, respectively the World Champions at
1500m and the 400m Hurdles, who were tied on 92 points at the start of the
meeting and then again on 116 points after their event wins during the
afternoon. At that point, on the basis of a better relative performance -
3:29.27 1500m / 47.62 400m hurdles - (** see note), it was El Guerrouj who
looked certain to win the $100,000 award for the Overall title on his birthday.
Yet there are never any certainties in athletics,
and the bang of the gun at the start of the men's 100m sounded the death knell
for the Moroccan's birthday celebrations, as Tim Montgomery charged through the
finish in 9.78 (+ 2m/s legal wind) to beat Maurice Green's old World Record
of 9.79, which was set in Athens in 1999.
The race itself was a classic, with Britain's
European champion Dwain Chambers pushing Montgomery all the way to equal Linford
Christie's European figures of 9.87 (1993). In third was USA's Jon Drummond in
9.97 (season's best) and Commonwealth Champion Kim Collins of St. Kitts and
Nevis established a new national record of 9.98 in fourth.
Starting the IAAF Grand Prix Final with a
relatively lowly 74 points, well adrift of the two main Overall contenders,
Montgomery's win brought him 24 points. But his World Record brought him a
double bonus. Firstly, he won 18 extra points which brought the American into a
three way tie with El Guerrouj and Sanchez on 116 points. Secondly, Montgomery's
9.78 was a better performance than El Guerrouj's 3:29.27 run in the 1500m (**see
effectively, just 100th of a second brought Montgomery a combined $250,000 pay
day. Had the World silver medallist in Edmonton last summer, 'only' equalled
Green's previous record, he would have obtained 9 extra points instead of
the 18 he captured for actually bettering the mark.
So Montgomery ended up winning $50,000 for
winning the 100m, another $100,000 for the Overall Grand Prix title and another
$100,000 for the World Record. All in all, a lucrative total for 9.78 seconds of
A hour and half before Montgomery's win, every
thing seemed to be going according to the script. A typically gutsy run from
Felix Sanchez, had seen the Dominican Republic's World 400m Hurdles champion
blast out from the blocks in lane five and quickly close down on the stagger of
the three men outside him.
Sanchez might have been attempting a remarkable
double but, naturally, the spectators in the Stade Charlety were more keen to
encourage France's European champion Stephane Diagana. But despite a spirited
effort he never came close to the peerless Sanchez, one of the quartet of
athletes who had already collected a share of this season's IAAF Golden League
Sanchez's winning time was 47.62, a Grand Prix
Final record, with Diagana also going sub -48 in second place with 47.82.
The result, and most particularly the finishing
time, left El Guerrouj, previously tied on the same number of Grand Prix points
(92) as Sanchez, seemingly needing only to win his 1500m in 3:30.36 to take the
Overall men's Grand Prix title.
At yesterday's Press Conference Sanchez had
predicted that the Overall Grand Prix would be his birthday present to the
Moroccan, as he was more concerned about completing his 400m hurdles / 400m
flat double. Sanchez would later finish 5th over 400m in 45.25.
El Guerrouj exuded confidence, and already in the
lead way before the bell (2:34.54) entered the final 100 metres with a sizeable
lead on Kenya's Bernard Lagat which he continued to build, sailing across the
finish line in 3:29.27, comfortably inside his target.
It seemed that Sanchez's birthday present had
been safely delivered into the Moroccan's hands, but just at the moment when El
Guerrouj was poised to unwrap his $150,000 (100,000 1st Overall + 50,000 1st
individual event) Montgomery dashed in leaving the Moroccan World Record holder
with "just" $50,000 for the 1500m event win.
points ahead of hurdler Gail Devers in the Overall Women's Grand Prix, Marion
Jones needed to show again the dominant form which took her to a share of the
2002 Golden League Jackpot last week. Jones did all that was required and a
little more, running a quick 10.88 despite a sluggish start which meant she had
to play catch up with her six opponents. Six? Yes, because after two false
starts her main rival World Champion Zhanna Pintusevich-Block was eliminated.
For Jones the outcome was more satisfying: the second Overall Grand Prix title
of her illustrious career.
After defeat in Berlin last week, it was back to
the top of the podium for Gail Devers in the women's 100m Hurdles. The three
time World Champion eased through the race with a clear margin over a field,
which included American World champion Anjanette Kirkland, and the two women,
Jamaica's Brigitte Foster and Spain's Glory Alozie who inflicted defeats on her
in Zurich and Berlin, respectively. Devers finished in 12.51, with Foster and
Kirkland split in that order with the same 12.62 clocking, to secure second
place in the Overall Rankings.
Third in the women's Overall stakes was Mexico's
Ana Guevara, who in her customary fashion crushed her opponents in the women's
400m, coming home in 49.90 with a solid lead over Jamaica's Lorraine Fenton
(50.47), to add a respectable $80,000 ($30,000 3rd Overall + $50,000 1st
individual event) to her quarter share of the 50 kilos of gold which she grabbed
as one of the four winners of the IAAF Golden League.
** as established on the basis of the IAAF
Scoring Tables which are used in the case of ties.