Sprinter Su speeds into history books
Su Bingtian became the first male Chinese sprinter to win a major championship medal in an individual event as he took the silver behind American Christian Coleman in the men’s 60 meters final at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Su, who became the first Asia-born athlete to run under 10 seconds in 2015, clocked a personal best of 6.42 seconds, breaking his own Asian record of 6.43 which he set last month.
Coleman clocked a championship record 6.37 to claim gold. Another American, Ronnie Baker, took bronze in 6.44.
Su’s teammate Xie Zhenye finished fourth, just as he did at the 2016 world indoors in Portland, in a personal best of 6.52.
The 28-year-old Su, hitherto unbeaten on the boards this season, became the most successful Asian 60m athlete at the championships, bettering Qatari Talal Mansoor’s bronze in the 1993 Toronto tournament and his compatriot Femi Ogunode’s third-place finish four years ago in Sopot.
Su became the fifth male Chinese athlete to win a world indoor medal, after Liu Xiang, who won his first senior global medal — bronze in the 60m hurdles — at the 2003 championships in the same arena.
“Liu Xiang is my idol and also my friend,” said Su. “I was always so close to a medal in recent championships and finally I got one. Back home, I expect there will be a big celebration as this is my dream come true.
“Actually I thought that I could win a bronze. There is no difference between silver and bronze. Even a bronze could prove that Chinese sprinters have made a breakthrough in major world competitions.”
Su, who led China to silver in the men’s 4x100m relay at the 2015 Beijing world championships, added: “In the past four years, Chinese sprinters have made great improvements but we only lack a medal from individual events. Today the dream has come true.
“My next goal is to reach the 100m final at the Olympic Games. I will make more efforts and hopefully I can make it at Tokyo two years later.”
Coleman rose to prominence last year by winning 100m silver at the world championships and last month smashed Maurice Greene’s 60m world record by clocking 6.34 seconds.
The 21-year-old came within 0.03 sec of that mark at Arena Birmingham, but he was just glad to take gold.
“Nobody really remembers second and I’ve felt that twice,” he said. “I used that as motivation and hopefully I come out with a few golds.”
Greene phoned to congratulate Coleman as the new champ was talking to reporters, and the latter put the call on speaker.
“Just to have my name up there with those kind of guys is a huge honor,” Coleman said after hanging up. “Maurice is someone I can call a friend now and that’s great for me.”
Three championship records fell as American Kendra Harrison won the women’s 60m hurdles (7.70), compatriot Sandi Morris claimed pole vault gold (4.95 meters) and New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh retained his shot put title (22.31m).