News03 Feb 1998

Maurice Greene stands alone as the fastest man ever indoors


Maurice Greene stands alone as the fastest man ever indoors
Phil Minshull reports from Madrid
Maurice Greene is now indisputably the fastest man ever indoors. The American sprinter ran 60m in 6.39 seconds on Tuesday night in Madrid to shave two hundredth of a second from the mark he jointly held with compatriot Andre Cason.

The anticipation that Greene, 23, would go faster than any man before him had been riding high since he stopped the clock at 6.41 seconds on Sunday in the German city of Stuttgart.

Despite a sluggish start, he did not disappoint but his new world record could be improved further in the next two weeks. He races at the Millrose Games in New York on February 13 and then returns to Europe to compete at the BUPA Indoor Meeting in Birmingham, England, on February 15.

Greene himself believes that there is more to come. "I have a lot left. This is only the second race this season. My start was not perfect - every race cannot be perfect - and I ran well within myself. I have not yet achieved the time that is in my mind - 6.37 that’s the time I have got in my mind and I still have to do it."

Greene had refused to allow himself the luxury of dreaming about the world record since Stuttgart. "I’ll take whatever time it takes to win the race. If you start thinking about records then you put some pressure on yourself."

Nor will he now be indulging in any celebrations, at least not until September. "I’ll celebrate at the end of the outdoors, this is just the beginning of the season. I still have to stay focused. I still have not reached the times that I want to reach. What do I expect to do outdoors - a (100m) world record in 9.76," the ebullient sprinter said.

It is not just Greene who believes that the Palacio de los Deportes in Madrid is a sprinters’ paradise Helpfully situated at 640 metres, the indoor arena is not quite high enough for any performances to be accompanied by the capital A in the record books which denotes altitude-assisted but nevertheless the reduced air resistance can make all the difference when fractions of a second are at stake.

Greene is the third man in the 14 years of the Memorial Cagaigal meeting to set a 60m world record there. He follows in the footsteps of fellow Americans Leroy Burrell, who ran 6.48 there in 1988, and Andre Cason who clocked the immediate former 60m best of 6.41 six years ago.

Three women’s 60m records have also been set at the same venue including the current best of 6.92 by Russia’s Irina Privalova.

Not surprisingly other speed merchants found it to their liking on Tuesday, especially 60m hurdlers Allen Johnson and Michelle Freeman who both ran the fastest times in the world this year for their events.

Johnson, the reigning 110m hurdles Olympic and world champion, produced a 7.44 performance after running his heat only one-hundredth slower.

Freeman flashed past the finish line in 7.74 for an new Jamaican national record which also equalled the fifth fastest time ever. Only Ludmila Enquist and Cornelia Oschkenat have gone faster.

Jamaica also reigned in the field where James Beckford stretched to 8.21 in the fifth round of the long jump to head the 1998 world list. Beckford had to be at his best because Portugal’s Carlos Calado had taken the lead with a national record of 8.11 a round earlier.