Tortu clocks a wind-aided 9.97 100m in Rieti

Filippo Tortu
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Filippo Tortu clocked a wind-aided 9.97 to win over 100m in Rieti on Friday (24) afternoon

Reigning European U20 100m champion Filippo Tortu began his individual season in excellent form, running faster than his Italian 100m record of 9.99 in Rieti on Friday (24).

The wind speed was slightly above the legal limit at 2.4 m/s but Tortu stopped the clock at a nonetheless eye-catching time of 9.97 after clocking 10.08 in the heats. The 20-year-old recovered from a sluggish start in the final to hold off Canada’s Aaron Brown (10.00) with France’s Amaury Golitin third in 10.11.

Tortu’s next race will be the Rome Diamond League on 6 June when he will step up in distance to contest the 200m. Not only will he face reigning world and European champion Ramil Guliyev, he will also face Noah Lyles from the United States - who defeated Tortu for the 100m title at the 2016 World U20 Championships.

Tortu hasn’t raced the curve since the IAAF World Championships in London nearly two years ago but the European 100m finalist is in high spirits after breaking the 10 second-barrier in the 100m on his season’s debut.

"It's a great sign in view of the 200m of the Golden Gala in two weeks in Rome, I really want to race at the Olympic Stadium,” Tortu told FIDAL after the race.

“I can say that I felt very good in the last few meters, I tried to relax, to use only my feet, raise my knees. Unfortunately there was wind, but here I was racing against one of the strongest sprinters in the world: after the first 50 meters I thought only to be relaxed and the time has come.”

In his first season as a senior, Tortu famously eclipsed Pietro Mennea’s long-standing Italian 100m record with 9.99 in Madrid last season before just missing out on the individual medals at the European Championships in Berlin.

He might not be quite as prolific over 200m but Tortu did make an impact when he raced over half the lap at the Rome Diamond League in 2017. His 20.34 placed him fourth on the European all-time lists which are still headed by Guliyev’s 20.04.