Sprinter Su speeds into his­tory books

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Page Two - By XIN­HUA in Birm­ing­ham AP con­trib­uted to this story.

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).

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