EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) - China’s Su Bingtian became the first Asian-born athlete to run a sub-10 second 100 meters when he finished third in the Diamond League meeting in Eugene on Saturday.
The 25-year-old clocked 9.99 seconds in the race won by American Tyson Gay in 9.88.
“I am so proud for my result. I can write my name into history now and will work harder and run faster,” Su told Xinhua. “This is definitely a huge boost for me.”
Su’s time is not the fastest by an Asian athlete, however, with Qatar’s Femi Ogunode having clocked 9.93 at the Asian Games in South Korea last year on his way to a sprint double.
Ogunode, though, was born in Nigeria but moved to the Gulf state in 2009 and became a naturalized citizen a year later, in time to race at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, where he won the 200m and 400m titles.
Japanese teenager Yoshidie Kiryu ran a wind-assisted 9.87 at a meeting in Texas in March, also indicating his ability and a sign that Su’s milestone may soon be surpassed.
Su’s compatriot Zhang Peimeng had held the previous fastest time for an Asian-born athlete with the 10.00 flat he clocked at the 2013 world championships in Moscow, and Su hoped they would be able to replicate that at this year’s worlds in Beijing.
“In Moscow, Zhang Peimeng was ranked ninth with 10 seconds, which made me feel that we are very close to entering the top eight and beating 10 seconds,” Su added.
“I hope in this year’s world championships, I can work some miracles for my country in 100m and 4x100m relay.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by John O'Brien