Frankie Fredericks of Namibia became the first man to run 200 meters under 20 seconds indoors, finishing in 19.92 seconds Sunday at the Lievin International meet Sunday.
The previous record of 20.25 seconds was set by Britain's Linford Christie at this meet last year."First one under 20. It's a great track and it was a great opportunity," Fredericks said.
Fredericks was second in both the 100 and 200 meters at the 1992 Olympics and was second in the 200 to Michael Johnson of the United States at the 1995 World Championships. Fredericks won the event at the 1993 World Championships.
The world outdoor record is 19.72, set by Pietro Mennea of Italy at Mexico City in 1979.
Fredericks ran in lane six, the same lane that Christie ran in last year.
"I ran in lane six because I didn't want to run someone else's race," Fredericks said. "I was confident after the record in the 100 last week."
He ran 10.05 in Tampare, Finland, last Monday.
Geir Moen of Norway was second in 20.56, followed by Robson Da Silva of Brazil (21.32).
Venuste Niyongabo of Burundi and Maria Mutola of Mozambique just missed world indoor records.
Niyongabo won the 2,000 in 4:54.77, less than a second behind Eamon Coughlan's world mark of 4:54.07.
Mutola won the women's 800 in 1:57.52. The world record is 1:56.40, set in 1988 by Christine Wachtel of East Germany.
Sergei Bubka of Ukraine won the pole vault at 19 feet, 61/4 inches. He missed three times at 20-21/2, which would have been a world indoor record. He has set 35 indoor and outdoor world pole vault records.