Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - No Bolt, no cry after Su takes Asia sprint



No Bolt, no cry after Su takes Asia sprint

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

No Bolt, no cry after Su takes Asia sprint

Su Bingtian’s Asian Games gold in the 100m came as little surprise to many, including athletics boss Sebastian Coe, long an admirer of the pint-sized Chinese sprinter.

The 28-year-old streaked to victory in a competition record of 9.92 seconds in Jakarta at the weekend, missing the continental record by the tiniest of fractions.

Su (pictured, AFP) edged out Nigeria-born Qatari Tosin Ogunode – younger brother of Femi Ogunode, with whom the Chinese star shares the continental best of 9.91 – on a night when six Africa-born athletes bagged six track and field golds at Asia’s showcase sports event.

Ryota Yamagata – part of the 4x100m Japan team that took silver behind Usain Bolt’s Jamaica at the 2016 Rio Olympics, took bronze, underlining Coe’s confidence in the future of Asian sprinting.

“You could argue Japan and China are two of the most improved athletics nations over the last six or seven years,” the Briton said in an interview with news agencies.

“For me it’s very clear – they’re making very good progress. If we’d been sitting here a decade ago, talking about potential here for a China athlete to run 9.8, you’d have probably taken quite long odds on that.”

Coe, president of track and field’s governing IAAF, pointed to China’s willingness to embrace overseas coaches after years of fostering suspicion of state-sponsored doping.

Su is coached by American coach Randy Huntington, while swim star Sun Yang’s partnership with Australian Denis Cotterell has helped turn him into a world beater.

“If you look at the Chinese federation, they’ve been quite global,” said Coe. “They’ve recognised there are gaps in their own coaching structures and said: ‘Hey, let’s bring that talent to the table.’

“It’s a pragmatic approach. There’s been a greater clarity around the importance of coaching.”

Life after Bolt

Coe is aware of the massive void left by athletics mega-star Bolt after the Jamaican legend’s retirement last year. But he also wants athletes to be personalities who can connect with fans.

“I’m a boxing fan,” said Coe, twice an Olympic 1500m champion. “If we’d been sitting in the 70s, you’d probably be saying to me what on earth are we going to be doing after Muhammad Ali?

“But actually, Floyd Mayweather, Hagler, Hearns come along.

“Do they suddenly replace Muhammad Ali? No. Should we suddenly expect these athletes to replace him? No,” he added. “Because Usain is not simply thought about at the status that he’s thought about because he’s got a sack full of world records and he’s got a clutch of Olympic titles.

“It’s actually because he’s a personality. It’s performance plus personality. We’ve got to help the athletes tell their stories.”

Su himself is a superstar in China, although he has some way to achieve the celebrity that pin-up Liu Xiang achieved after winning the 110m hurdles gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

“There was more pressure here than at a world championships,” said Su, swallowed by a scrum of state media after his win.

“Everybody expected me to win so I kept telling myself to stay calm. I just found a way. It’s a massive win for me.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Takeo hand-woven silk items provide local high-quality alternative to imports

    After graduating from university and beginning her career as a civil servant at the the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khieu Sina found time to establish a business that aligns with her true passion – quality hand-woven Khmer goods. Her product line, known as Banteay Srei,

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen