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【CHINA DAILY】Su-perman soars to inspire next gen

字体: 2021年09月24日 浏览量: 来源: CHINA DAILY 作者: 发布:新闻中心

 

Su Bingtian celebrates after claiming 100-meter gold at the National Games in Xi'an on Tuesday.WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY

China's evergreen sprint star urges young guns to block out naysayers after dashing to National Games glory

Su Bingtian hopes his age-defying late-career surge inspires the next generation of Chinese sprinters to push beyond the limits of people's expectations.

Fresh from his Tokyo 2020 heroics, the 32-year-old Su cemented his legacy by claiming his first National Games title in Xi'an on Tuesday.

"I hope through my own efforts, I can become an example to inspire more young sprinters," said Su, after winning the 100-meter gold medal in 9.95 seconds in front of over 17,000 spectators at Xi'an Olympic Sports Center.

"I want to tell the young sprinters that you are still in your 20s and you can still fight for at least two editions of the Olympics. Don't let stereotypes about sprinters' age or ability limit your growth.

"I think we can write our own life story. So I want to tell others my story. I want to set an example. You can still run fast at the age of 32."

Su dashed into the history books this summer in Tokyo by becoming the first Chinese to reach an Olympic 100m final, refreshing the Asian record to 9.83 sec in the process in his semifinal.

In 2015, he became the first-ever Asian-born sprinter to break the 10-second barrier in the 100m, but subsequently suffered a dip in form and even pondered retirement.

His perseverance, though, paid off in 2018 when he twice equaled the previous Asian record of 9.91, and clocked 9.92 to take that year's Asian Games 100m title in Jakarta.

A waist injury and the decimation of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic had dampened hopes that Su could make more breakthroughs this late in his career.

However, he has emphatically proved all the doubters wrong this year with his superb results in Tokyo and Xi'an.

"Actually after the semifinal, I knew my condition was good enough to once again break the 10-second barrier," said Su on Tuesday.

"I have participated in four National Games. I've never seen so many spectators in the stands like here. And today is the Mid-Autumn Festival, so I wanted to produce my best performance as a gift to all the fans."

Su first participated in the National Games in 2009, finishing runner-up at the 2013 and 2017 editions. He admitted that this year would likely be his final appearance at the Games.

"The next National Games will be held in my home province Guangdong. Honestly, my chances of competing are slim. So I am grateful for being able to fulfill my dream this time," Su said.

He rated Tuesday's race as "the most competitive 100m sprint final ever in the history of the National Games", with defending champion Xie Zhenye taking silver in 10.10, and Wu Zhiqiang third in 10.18.

In 2018, Xie became the second Chinese sprinter to break the 100m 10-second barrier, with a personal best of 9.97.

Injuries have stifled Xie's development since then, but Su rushed to his national teammate's defense in the post-race media conference, saying:"After I failed to win at the 2017 National Games, many people thought Su couldn't run again. I have proved I'm still able to compete at this level. I bounced back strongly.

"So in regard to Xie Zhenye, his limit is definitely not 10.10. He has been hampered by the injuries. This is not his best performance. I trust in Xie to have better results next year when he competes at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

"We shouldn't just question an athlete when he's not at his best. Instead, we need to help and encourage him to regain his momentum. I will use my experiences to influence more people and let them appreciate Chinese athletes."

Eventual winner Tang Xingqiang (yellow) accelerates away from Xie Zhenye (right) during Wednesday's 200m final. XINHUA

Gracious Xie

Xie's struggles continued in the 200m final on Wednesday when he was pipped to gold by Tang Xingqiang, 26. Xie, who owns the Asian 200m record of 19.88, took his double disappointment on the chin.

"I want to congratulate the younger sprinters who have refreshed their personal bests at the National Games. It's a pity that I couldn't defend my titles this time, but I accept the result," said Xie, who clocked 20.43 behind Tang (20.39).

"A good athlete should accept all results. We can enjoy victories but we also need to face our failures. I want to thank everyone for all their support and we will keep trying.

"Both the 100m and 200m finals in Xi'an were the most competitive in National Games history. That shows the growth of Chinese athletics. This is a result of the concerted efforts of the Chinese athletics community. Each edition of the National Games is more competitive than the last. This is a great trend."

Tang acknowledged that Su's speech on Tuesday had inspired him. "I cried when I heard his words yesterday. What he said is what I experienced in recent years. We can bounce back from low moments if there is enough care from the outside," said Tang.

As for China's new breed of sprinters, Su hailed the performances of 18-year-old Yan Haibin and 21-year-old Chen Guanfeng, who ranked fourth and fifth respectively in Tuesday's 100m final.

"Actually, I came here to compete as a teacher. Yan Haibin, who raced against me today, is a student of my university. This was a race between a teacher and his student, which is a memory I will treasure," said Su, who is an associate professor at Jinan University in Guangzhou.

Chen, meanwhile, hopes Su is not thinking of hanging up his spikes anytime soon.

"I don't think I'm a talent. I just follow the footsteps of our big brother Su. We are the next generation who want to catch up with him," said Chen.

"He actually doesn't need to teach us anything, or come to encourage us. All of his races are an inspiration for us, and he would like us to challenge him. As long as he stands on the track, that's all the encouragement we need."

Yan Haibin (center), 18, is among a new breed of Chinese sprinters keen to emulate Su Bingtian's feats.LU LIN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Su Bingtian, 32, shakes hands with Chen Guanfeng, 21, following the men's 100m final at the National Games on Tuesday. Su said this was likely his last appearance at the Games, but not his final race. XINHUA

By SHI FUTIAN in Xi'an

(2021-09-24)

原文链接:https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202109/24/WS614d12d0a310cdd39bc6b278_1.html

责编:李伟苗

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