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Sprinter Su makes history, the pride of China

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Chinese sprinter Su Bingtian made history on Sunday by setting a new Asian record in the 100 meters sprint of 9.83 seconds, the first Chinese athlete to run in the showpiece event in the athletics competition at the Olympics.

Su’s semifinal result, with a wind speed of 0.9 meters per second, shaved 0.08 seconds off his previous Asian record of 9.91. Su clocked 9.98 seconds in final, sixth in the eight-man field.

“I’m thrilled to be in the 100 meters final. Stepping on the track has fulfilled my dream,” Su said after the race. “I ran out of my energy in the semifinal. Finishing the final under 10 seconds is not an easy thing for me.”

“I said before that I can do a 9.85 seconds [run] but today I finished even faster. Maybe I will never be close to today’s result. Thank you Tokyo for setting up a lifetime memory for me.”

Su’s previous Olympic experience saw him eliminated twice in the semifinals. However he made the 100 meters sprint final twice at the World Athletics Championships in 2015 and 2017.

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Su’s appearance in the 100 meters final at the Olympics has been compared to 2004 Olympic champion Liu Xiang’s feat, who won a gold medal in the men’s 110 meters hurdles – the only Chinese to win a gold medal in the track events at the Olympics.

Half the top-10 trends on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Sunday night mentioned Su’s historic achievement in the sprint final.

“If it weren’t for Brother Xiang’s achievement, we’d never have thought that an Asian would step on the Olympic track race final and even win the race,” Su said. “I hope my sixth place at the Olympics final will inspire more Chinese athletes to improve.”

Ahead of the semifinal, Su gestured with his thumb and index finger in close proximity, mimicking his idol and sprinting legend Usain Bolt. In the final he changed his gesture to a clenched fist before showing the five uppercase words on his strip: China.

The Tokyo Olympics is the first since Athens in 2004 to take place without Bolt, who went on to win three consecutive Olympic 100 meters titles in Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro, as well as three straight 200 meters crowns. Bolt retired in 2017.

Competing at his last Olympics, Su, turning 32 later this month, said that his focus at the Olympics would be reaching the final of the 100 meters and try to win a medal for China with his teammates in the men’s 4×100 meters relay, with the heats starting on Thursday.

“I hope today’s result did not let anyone down,” Su said, noting he will rest before getting back to training for the relay.


Post time: Aug-02-2021