China is 'one man short' in 4x100m relay

Sprinter Su Bingtian said China needs one more high-quality sprinter to become a top relay team.
Dong Jun / SHINE

Sprinter Su Bingtian (fourth left) is among the athletes who attended a press conference ahead of the 2019 IAAF Diamond League Shanghai leg.

Chinese sprinter Su Bingtian said China needs just one more high-quality sprinter before becoming a top team in the 4x100m relay.

The 4x100m relay is among most popular track disciplines, and China has shown its potential since the men’s relay team — Su, Xie Zhenye, Wu Zhiqiang and Zhang Peimeng — finished fourth at the 2017 World Championships in London.

China sent 23-year-old Liang Jinsheng to replace Zhang at the 2019 World Relay Championship in Japan’s Yokohama this week. Zhang has decided to take up skeleton bob. 

China was leading after the first 3 legs, anchor Liang  allowed opponents ahead and China finished fourth clocking 38.16 seconds.

“The new team was looking good in Japan as 38.16 seconds would be good enough to allow us into the final of the Olympic Games. But we are still one man short if we want to become a top team,” Su said during a press conference Friday, one day ahead of the 2019 IAAF Diamond League Shanghai leg at Shanghai Stadium.

“For sprinters like me, Xie and Wu, there is not much potential left in us, so we need promising new blood. We have been training young runners by making them take the last baton and handle the pressure. Hope a new star will come out quickly,” said Su.

Su will lead the Chinese squad and compete against American Christian Coleman in the 100m.

Last August, Su won the men’s 100 meters at the 2018 Asian Games with a new record of 9.92 seconds. Two months later, he clocked 9.91 seconds in the Paris leg of the 2018 IAAF Diamond League.

“Given last year’s performance, I believe I have the ability to beat the time of 9.90 seconds,” said Su. “It’s just the start of the season and my goal in Shanghai is to reach 10.05 seconds, which should guarantee me the entry to the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.”

Coleman, Su’s main opponent in Shanghai, said the Tokyo Olympics is still a bit far away for him, and he wants to focus on this year’s World Championship first. He was the 100 and 200 double silver medalist at the 2017 World Championships.

“This year I plan to go for gold in both,” said Coleman.

“To some extent, Su and I are very alike, as we are both short and can reach top speed very fast. But it (the race in Shanghai) won’t be just against Su, as all sprinters at the start line are competitive opponents,” added the American.

Other Chinese athletes attending the home event tomorrow include shot putter Gong Lijiao, the 2017 world champion and 2012 Olympics silver medalist, as well as long jumper Wang Jianan, high jumper Wang Yu and javelin thrower Lu Huihui.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Retired pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, American hurdler David Oliver and Chinese hurdler Zeng Jianhang meet local students in Shanghai on Friday morning.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Oliver watches a young Chinese hurdler in action.

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