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Japan expects records to fall in Osaka

18 May 2007

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A super-fast new track could see records tumble at this year's world athletics championships, organisers said on Thursday.

Track and field's governing IAAF announced midweek that this year's total prize money in Osaka would be $7.19 million with a bonus of $100,000 for every world record broken.

"The prize money on offer is the same amount as it was in Helsinki," Japanese organising committee spokesman Yukishige Koto told Reuters, referring to the 2005 world championships.

"But the track is extremely fast so we do have high expectations of world records, especially in the 100 and 200 metres.

"If (world record holder) Asafa Powell competes I think we could see a new world record in the 100m. If an athlete can set a world record they get a nice bonus of course!"

Jamaican Powell twice equalled his own world record of 9.77 seconds last season and has said his priority for this year is a first world title.

The championships take place from Aug. 25 to Sept. 2 at Osaka's Nagai Stadium, the venue for the IAAF Japan Grand Prix earlier this month.

World and Olympic 400m champion Jeremy Wariner has already given the track good reviews after clocking 44.02 on May 5. He said the track, relaid last August, would help his assault on Michael Johnson's eight-year-old mark of 43.18.

"I have never seen a surface like that in the States so I can't wait to come back," he said.

The top eight finishers in each event at the world championships will receive prize money ranging from $60,000 for gold medallists to $4,000 for eighth place.

The IAAF said on its Web site that 204 of its 212 member federations have declared their intention to take part in the championships.

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