- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 17, 2006

12:42 p.m.

MONTE CARLO, Monaco (AP) — Less than a week after declaring himself the fastest man in the world, Justin Gatlin was informed he has to share that title.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) yesterday said a timing error at the Qatar Grand Prix last week gave Gatlin a mark of 9.76 seconds in the 100-meter dash, which was one-hundredth of a second below Asafa Powell’s world record of 9.77.

The IAAF said Gatlin’s time was actually 9.766 seconds and should have been rounded up manually to 9.77.

The time has been adjusted to 9.77 and, pending ratification, will equal the record set by Powell on June 14, 2005, in Athens, the IAAF said.

The 24-year-old American sprinter received wide acclaim after he was credited with breaking the record on Friday, giving him the unofficial title of the world’s fastest human. He also is the reigning Olympic and world champion in the 100.

The IAAF said it acted after being informed of the error by Tissot Timing.

“The IAAF rounding rule, to be initiated manually on the timing system, had not been activated as instructed,” Tissot said in a statement from its Swiss headquarters. “Tissot Timing regrets the occurrence and apologizes for this unique incident.”

The IAAF uses times recorded to one-hundredth of a second, with figures always rounded up.

“We’re very disappointed for Justin, but we think he’s got all the talent to get the record again soon,” IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said. “It’s better to have an honest result.”

Davies said it’s believed to be the first time a world record has been taken away days later because of a timing adjustment.

The IAAF learned of the error Monday after Tissot reviewed the times. Under IAAF procedures, formal ratification of a world record can take months. Meet organizers have to submit the official results, photo finish, doping control forms and other data to the IAAF for checking.

“If Tissot hadn’t announced it, we would have caught it eventually,” Davies said.

Gatlin and Powell are scheduled to face each other for the first time this year at the Gateshead meet in England on June 11.

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