OSAKA, Japan -- American Tyson Gay blazed down the track in 9.85 seconds to claim the world 100 metres title in Osaka on Sunday, beating world record-holder Asafa Powell into third.
Gay romps to title victory while Powel (right) fades to third place
Powell was quickly into the lead but Gay overtook his man in the last 20 meters with the Bahamas' Derrick Atkins claiming silver in 9.91.
It was a big disappointment for Powell, who faded to finish in 9.96. But he had the consolation of hanging on to his 9.77 world record.
Gay claimed his first world title in the second-fastest time this year after his 9.84 seconds in June.
Gay, 25, and the 24-year-old Powell both went into the final unbeaten this season but yet to face each other.
They lined up amid unbearable tension in the 50,000-seat Nagai Stadium, where thousands of fan-waving spectators had braved the evening heat.
After a clean start Powell was quickest into his stride but lacked the extra gears to contain Gay.
Gay has been in the ascendancy, timing a wind-assisted 9.76 and a season-leading 9.84 in June on his way to the fastest 100-200 combination in history.
Powell has been affected by knee tendonitis and a groin injury but bounced back with 9.90 last month in Rome, the second best time this year.
Powell set his record 9.77 in June 2005 and equaled the mark twice last season.
The only man to run as fast is disgraced world and Olympic champion Justin Gatlin, who failed a dope test last year.
The 100m, the world championships' blue riband event, was unusually held on the first weekend as organizers bid to boost ticket sales.
Gay is also competing in the 200m, which he leads this season with 19.62. He has enjoyed his breakthrough season without coach Lance Brauman, who is in jail for embezzlement, theft and mail fraud.
Neither Powell nor Gay owned a major title heading into the world championships, although the Jamaican claimed Commonwealth gold last year.
Powell, who false-started out of the last world championships and failed to get out of the blocks in the Athens Olympics, was voted male athlete of last season after 16 successive wins. E-mail to a friend