IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations)

Su Bingtian can go even faster – he’s ‘taking a knife to a gunfight’ without custom-made shoes, says coach

China sprint star can finish among top five of all time, according to Randy Huntington, with 9.91 national record remarkable given lack of specialist footwear

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 3:49pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 10:43pm

He ran the fifth fastest 100 metres of the year while still waiting for his custom Nike running shoes to be made, but Chinese sprinter Su Bingtian isn’t even close to finished, according to coach Randy Huntington.

Su surged to victory at the Meeting de Madrid in 9.91 seconds on the weekend – reclaiming the national record he had lost to Xie Zhenye just three days earlier – and his American coach is convinced he can trim plenty more off his personal best.

“His best race, if he can hit all cylinders, would probably be just under 9.8, but those have got to be perfect things and they don’t happen very often,” Huntington said.

“There is a lot of upside to his ability. His potential is around 9.78. That would put him close to top five of all time.

“He is ready to run faster. He still doesn’t have his custom shoes from Nike, which they are currently making. I told him, ‘you are taking a knife to a gunfight’.

“The rest of these guys are wearing custom shoes and Su is a very powerful guy and he needs a shoe that is a whole lot stiffer than what he is running in.”

Huntington said it was a simple oversight that led to Su not having the correct shoe and he is confident his charge is still developing.

“Nobody thought ‘wait a minute, he needs a special shoe’. With that shoe, certainly it’s not going to give him a lot but it’ll give him something,” Huntington said.

“He’s learning the race and what the 100 metres is. Each race he has got elements of it but he still hasn’t got the whole thing yet. One race he missed the start, got the middle and then he missed the finish, another race he missed the finish, got the start and missed the middle.

“It’s one of those things that when you start to learn, you start to feel the rhythm and the flow of the race.”

Huntington pointed to Su’s Asian record of 6.42 – equal fifth quickest ever – on his way to second in the 60m at this year’s IAAF World Indoor Championships as an indication the 28-year-old can take his 100m time lower.

Su Bingtian snatches back 100m record, just three days after Xie Zhenye became China’s fastest man

“Everybody who has run 6.42 or under in a 60m, they’ve all run pretty darn fast in the 100 metres – they’re all 9.7 or 9.8 guys,” he said.

Last week was a chaotic time for Chinese sprinting, with Xie first carving 0.07 seconds from his personal best with a 9.97 to win at the Meeting de Montreuil in Paris, beating Su’s then-China record of 9.99.

Su then went one better, lopping 0.08 off his personal best. The remarkable sequence of events did not surprise Huntington.

Xie Zhenye becomes China’s fastest man with blistering 100-metre sprint to break Su Bingtian’s record

“I just think Xie has been with a great coach in Rana [Reider] and Su finally had the right wind. He has been running times but he has always had an illegal wind [wind assistance above 2.0 metres per second is considered illegal for record purposes]. It just happened that way, that’s all,” said Huntington.

Su will run in this weekend’s Diamond League meeting in Paris and his coach predicted another strong showing. “I’m expecting to see him very close to 9.9 again, he could dip under if he gets the right race,” he said.