RIETI, Italy (AP) _ Noah Ngeny broke the world record for the men's 1,000 meters Sunday at the Rieti Grand Prix II meet, clocking 2 minutes, 11.96 seconds to erase a mark that had stood for 18 years.

The Kenyan, silver medalist in the 1,500 at last month's World Championships, sliced .22 seconds off the previous record of 2:12.18, set by Sebastian Coe at Oslo, Norway, on July 11, 1981.

The warm day, altitude and excellent pacesetting made for ideal conditions for the 20-year-old Ngeny, who persuaded the meet's organizers on Thursday to add the rarely-contested 1,000 to the schedule.

David Kiptoo, another Kenyan, led Ngeny through the first 600 meters at a brisk clip, two seconds under Coe's pace. After Kiptoo dropped out, with 300 meters to go, Ngeny slowed somewhat, but a powerful finish carried him to the record.

Ngeny previously had run the second-fastest 1,000, missing Coe's record by .48 seconds at a meet in Nice, France, in July.

Sunday's record was the latest sign that the Kenyan is capable of threatening Hicham El Guerrouj's stranglehold on middle-distance running. Ngeny pushed El Guerrouj to the world record for the mile at the Golden Gala in Rome in July, and battled the Moroccan down the final straightaway in a thrilling 1,500 final at the World Championships.

As a teen-ager, Ngeny broke world junior records for the mile and 1,500.

The world record was the seventh set at this town nestled in the mountains about 40 miles northeast of Rome, and fourth in six years.

Daniel Komen set the 3,000-meter record, which still stands, here in 1996, while Algerian Noureddine Morceli ran since-broken records for the 1,500 in 1992 and the mile in 1993.