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Last Weltklasse at Letzigrund ends world class

Powell and his payday Keystone

Jamaican Asafa Powell equalled the men's 100 metres world record for the second time this year clocking 9.77 seconds at a Golden League meeting in Zurich on Friday.

His run was the highlight of the last Weltklasse event at Zurich’s Letzigrund, which will be torn down and replaced with a new stadium.

Powell initially set the record in Athens on June 14, 2005. The 23-year-old then equalled the time at a grand prix meeting in Gateshead, England two months ago.

He jointly holds the record with Olympic and world champion Justin Gatlin, who ran 9.77 in Doha on May 12 but the American has since announced he failed a dope test for testosterone in April.

Without serious competition on Friday, Powell blasted down the fast Letzigrund track to finish 0.07 seconds ahead of Tyson Gay of the United States.

“I’m very happy,” Powell said after the race. “Can I run faster? I think so – we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Americans Leonard Scott (9.97) in third and fourth-placed Marcus Brunson (9.99) also finished under 10 seconds.

Gatlin faces a life ban from the sport after announcing his positive test last month.

In other events, Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shaheen dominated the 3,000m steeplechase as expected but missed out on his world record by three seconds, coming in at 7:56:54.

In the 5,000m, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia set a year’s best in the event crossing the finish line in a time of 12:48:25.

Prize money

American Jeremy Wariner won the 400m to keep on pace to claim a share of the $1 million jackpot which goes to athletes winning all six Golden League meetings. He is joined by Powell, Sanya Richards (women’s 400m) and Tirunesh Dibaba (women’s 5,000m).

Swiss hope Alexander Martinez came fourth in the triple jump, managing 16.97m. The event was won by Olympic and European champion Christian Olsson of Sweden, with a best jump of 17.39m.

Next year’s Weltklasse event will be held at the new Letzigrund stadium. It will be a multi-purpose venue with a maximum capacity of 25,000 for football matches, 30,000 for athletics meetings and up to 50,000 for open-air concerts.

swissinfo with agencies

The six events on this year’s Golden League take place in Oslo, Paris, Rome, Zurich, Brussels and Berlin. Athletes who win all six meetings take a share of $1 million while those who win five get a slice of $500,000.

The final two meetings of the year will be held in Brussels on August 25 and Berlin on September 3.

The Weltklasse was first held in 1928.

23 world records have been broken at the Zurich event, the last three taking place in 1997.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR