Chinese sprinter cracks 10-second barrier
Updated: 2015-06-01 07:24
By Sun Xiaochen(China Daily USA)
A young Chinese sprinter who broke the 10-second mark in a 100m race in the United States has rekindled the Chinese public's enthusiasm for track and field.
Chinese athlete Su Bingtian made history on Saturday after finishing third in 9.99 seconds in the men's 100m final at the Eugene Grand Prix in Oregon, the first Asian-born sprinter to crack the 10-second mark.
Former world champion Tyson Gay of the United States won the race in 9.88 seconds while his compatriot Mike Rodgers finished second at 9.90.
Su's groundbreaking performance stirred a sensational response on Chinese social media.
"Congrats to Su! You've proven that Asian runners can compete against Americans on sprinting tracks. The hope for Chinese track and field is revitalized," said a micro blogger named sharon_085.
Wu Wenqiang, an athletic-training professor at Beijing Sport University, expects Su's feat to reactivate interest in Chinese athletics at the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations? World Championships in Beijing in August.
"Chinese track and field needs a new poster boy, since (hurdler) Liu Xiang has retired, to draw attention back to the track at the Worlds in Beijing. Su has emerged at the right time, and his breakthrough heralds the rise of the new generation," said Wu.
Although Qatar's Nigerian-born Femi Ogunode is now the fastest man in Asia, claiming the gold medal at last year's Asian Games at 9.93 seconds, Su's run in under 10 seconds shows that Asian-born sprinters can compete at the highest level, Wu added.
Still, the 25-year-old Su, who became the new national record holder, remains modest about picking up Liu's baton to spearhead the Chinese charge.
"Liu is the greatest ever track and field athlete in China. I admire a lot that he realized the Chinese dream (to win an Olympic gold medal in a sprint event). I am not able to take over from Liu now, I am just so excited to achieve my goal," Su said.
Liu, who announced his retirement last month, witnessed Su's performance from the sidelines in Eugene, where he clocked 12.87 seconds to equal the then-world record in the 110m hurdles at the same meet in 2012.
"I told him to be himself and hold on until the last moment, and he did it. I am so honored to be present for the historic moment," Li said.
Another Chinese sprinter, Zhang Peimeng, who achieved a personal best of 10 seconds at the 2013 Moscow Worlds, was previously considered the closest to cracking 10 seconds, together with Japanese youngster Yoshihide Kiryu, who ran a wind-assisted unofficial 9.87 at a meet in Austin, Texas, in March.
"It's a pity that I couldn't be the guy who broke the 10-second barrier, but I feel relieved after Su did it. I hope we can deliver good results together at the Beijing Worlds," said Zhang.
Chinese sprinter Su Bingtian and British athlete James Dasaolu dash toward the finish line on Saturday in the men's 100m final at the Eugene Grand Prix in Oregon. Su finished third in 9.99 seconds, the first Asian-born sprinter to crack the 10-second mark. Yang Lei / Xinhua
(China Daily USA 06/01/2015 page3)