John Walker, out of competition the last Year with a calf injury, set a world indoor record tonight in the 1,500 meter race at the Muahmmad Ali Invitational Track meet.
On a night Renaldo (Skeets) Nehemiah, the University of Maryland sophomore, began his indoor season with an impressive victory in the 60-meter hurdles, Walker's clocking of 3:37.4 seconds clearly was the highlight of the season's first major indoor meet.
His time broke the record of 3:37.8 set by Harald Norpoth of West Germany in 1971. Cummings' time was 3:37.6.
"It was a tough race because of the way it was run," Walker said. "Cummings started to falter with a lap to go and I felt "I gotcha. I wanted to win, and the record came.It's going to be nice boarding that plane and going home with a world record."
"This was my first time running indoors in two years," said Walker of a run he said was the equivalent of a 3:54 mile. "And I probably can go faster."
Herman Frazier of the Philadelphia Pioneers improved on his indoor record in the 500-meter dash with a 1:01.2 clocking.
His old mark in the seldom-run event was 1:01.3, in last year's first Ali Invitational.
Nehemiah described by the track announcer as "the greatest hurdle prospect in U.S. history" justified that lavish praise in taking an easy victory over what he later described as "almost an Olympic field."
Nehemiah was mostly concerned with the fellows Foster -- Charles Foster of the Philadelphia Pioneers next to him in Lane 1 and Greg Foster of UCLA, an old nemesis, two lanes over in No. 4.
Greg Foster and Nehemiah were out of the blocks first, but Nehemiah took a slim lead after the first hurdle over Dedy Cooper and never trailed thereafter.
Nehemiah, world-record holder in the 60-yard hurdles, was clocked in 7.5 seconds, the same time given Cooper. Greg Foster was third in 7.6; Charles Foster fourth, also in 7.6.
Nehemiah had run a 7:5-second hand-timed 60 meters last season, well off the world-record indoor handtimed mark of 7.3, but he said he was pleased with his first race since an international meet in Germany in August.
"I'm ready to establish myself in indoor track this year," Nehemiah said. "I was looking for a good start to the season, winning and giving it a good shot, and that's what happened.
"Considering the conditions, it was a little confusing... and the starting area was a little confining. I'm very satisfied.
"This meet is psychological because it's like the first one. You want to get the jump on the other athletes, it puts more pressure on them. Now they know they have to catch me."