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Wariner underlines threat to Johnson record

15 July 2006

Jeremy Wariner (Image of Sport) Jeremy Wariner (Image of Sport)
By David Powell

Spurred on by the X-factor, Jeremy Wariner last night ran the fastest 400 metres since Michael Johnson broke the world record in Seville seven years ago. Wariner, the world and Olympic champion, maintained his unbeaten record in the Golden League this season with a performance that promoted him from seventh to fourth on the all-time list.

Much had been made beforehand of the threat posed to Wariner by Xavier Carter, his fellow American, who, three days earlier, had recorded the quickest 200 metres time since Johnson set the half-lap world record at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Carter, nicknamed the X-Man, recorded 19.63sec in Lausanne, saying he was shocked because he had been training for the 400 metres.

In Rome last night, Carter lined up against Wariner but finished ten metres down, despite claiming second place. Wariner clocked 43.62sec, a career best by 0.29 and a time that only Johnson (43.18), Butch Reynolds (43.29) and Quincy Watts (43.50) have beaten. All three, like Wariner, are from the United States.

Wariner, who says he has Johnson’s record in his sights, is only 22 and Carter 20. At the US collegiate championships last month Carter became the first man since Jesse Owens in 1936 to win four titles at one go and the first to win the 100 and 400 metres. Wariner was watching and saw the future.

“With us pushing each other for the rest of our careers, we might even be able to run into the 42s for the first time,” Wariner said.

All four athletes who had won at both previous Golden League meetings this season stretched their sequence to three. Asafa Powell, from Jamaica, won the 100 metres, recording 9.85. Sanya Richards won the women’s 400 metres and Tirunesh Dibaba the 5,000 metres.

Marion Jones maintained her best form since she was last world No 1, in 2002, recording her quickest 100 metres in four years. However, despite recording 10.91sec, she finished second behind Sherone Simpson, from Jamaica, who clocked 10.87.

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