LONDON, JULY 20 -- Britain's Steve Backley today took back the world javelin record with a throw that was more than four feet longer than the previous mark.

Backley's heave of 298 feet 6 inches was the first to break the 90-meter barrier of 295-3.

Less than a week ago, Czechoslovakia's Jan Zelezny eclipsed Backley's previous world mark with a throw of 294-2 in Oslo. Today, the Briton used the Nemeth javelin he had earlier criticized.

Zelezny was there to see it, competing against Backley at an International Amateur Athletic Federation Grand Prix meet at Crystal Palace.

After his monster throw, Backley said, "I always said that he had borrowed the record from me. I knew I would get it back and it was great to do it here in front of the British fans."

Zelezny's best reply was 281-7.

While a packed Crystal Palace crowd awaited the attack on the men's world javelin record, three British track speedsters kept them buzzing.

Europe's Linford Christie ended a losing streak by winning the 100 meters in 10.18 seconds, countryman Jon Regis stormed to victory at 200 meters in 20.32, and Welshman Colin Jackson ran the fastest 110-meter hurdles on British soil (13.09).

But the javelin head-to-head had the crowd excited.

After Zelezny had opened with a no throw, Backley had the fans roaring with a heave of 283-5. He followed it with 281-9, 292-8 and then the world record throw.

All his throws beat the best Zelezny could manage.

The Briton, who usually uses a Sanvik javelin, revealed that he switched to the same Nemeth spear that Zelezny used to set his mark in Oslo.

The Nemeth is rated aerodynamically better but Backley has his reservations.

"I picked {the Nemeth} because everyone else was using it," he said. "I used it for the fourth throw and look what happened."