By Jessica Damiana
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Su Bingtian could not improve his personal best in his triumphant 100 metres sprint at the Asian Games but the Chinese sprinter is happy as long as the gold medals keep coming.
Su was the first Asian-born sprinter to run the blue riband event in under 10 seconds and shares the continental record with Qatar’s Nigerian-born Femi Ogunode at 9.91 seconds.
While he could not better that mark on a hot and humid Sunday in Jakarta, he still managed to win the gold medal in an Asian Games record time of 9.92 seconds.
“My condition during the first round wasn’t that good, it was only in the semi-final that I managed to finish in around 10.1 seconds,” Su told reporters after his victory.
“I didn’t use too much strength during the semi-final, I saved my energy for final.
“I didn’t start well, it wasn’t my best, at least until around 60 metres. But I really wanted this gold medal so I pushed a bit near the final line.”
He held off his opponents with a late burst of speed to keep ahead of Femi’s younger brother Tosin Ogunode and Japan’s Ryota Yamagata – both credited with a time of 10.00.
“I hope to have better performance in future championships. As long as I get gold medals in these events that’s more than enough,” Su continued.
“You won’t be guaranteed a gold medal just with your skills, it also depends on your performance and your attitude. All my competitors were very experienced like myself but whether or not you can break through really depends on your performance.
“For me what’s important is to prove that I still have potential. This event, for example, I got gold and didn’t disappoint anyone, that’s enough.”
Su was also the first Asian-born sprinter to reach the world championships 100m final but finished last in London last year.
(Additional reporting by Angie Teo and Jack Tarrant; writing by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Nick Mulvenney)