Justin Gatlin yesterday became the sprinter who had it all as he added the only thing missing in his career following his world and Olympic titles - the world record. And the 24-year-old American predicted it could be the first of many for him in what he termed a "new era" in his career.
Gatlin became the fastest man in history with a time of 9.76sec at the International Association of Athletic Federations meeting in Doha, beating the record set last year by his Jamaican rival Asafa Powell by a hundredth of a second.
"I am the best of the best because I am the Olympic champion, the world champion and the world record holder now," said the ebullient Brooklyn-born sprinter. "I thought I would do it and I kept my word. I am a man who likes challenges and my acceleration today was phenomenal. It is amaz-ing I did it. It took a lot of discipline and dedication." Gatlin, whose time of 9.85sec in the Doha semifinal was briefly the fastest time of the year, had given an indication of his form by clocking 9.95sec in his open-ing race of the season in Osaka last Saturday. But his assessment of his position in world sprinting is likely to be disputed by Powell, who also ran 9.95sec last weekend in Kingston.
Powell was fifth behind Gatlin in the Athens Olympics and missed the following year's World Championships because of injury. …