IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations)

Easy victory in Hong Kong but it gets a whole lot tougher for Chinese sprinting star Su Bingtian who takes on world’s best in Shanghai

The mainlander cruises to his first win of the season but has his work cut out in his homeland where Gatlin and De Grasse awaits

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 May, 2018, 8:59pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 May, 2018, 10:35am

Chinese superstar sprinter Su Bingtian came, saw and conquered as he easily accounted for his rivals in winning his first 100 metres race of the season at the Hong Kong championships in Wan Chai Sports Ground on Sunday.

Watched by a crowd of more than 1,000 on a warm, sunny day, China’s fastest ever man made no mistake as he outclassed a group of home sprinters to win the race in 10.28 seconds, outside his personal best, but good enough to equal the course record set by local runner Tsui Chi-ho in 2010.

Su has twice run 9.99 seconds in 2015 and he indicated on Sunday that he’s aiming to break his personal best, beginning with this week’s Diamond League in Shanghai, where the quality of his opponents will be way better. Think top-class.

He faces a tough battle against some of the best runners in the world in Shanghai. The list includes Rio Olympic gold medallist Justin Gatlin, of the United States, and Rio bronze medallist, Andre de Grasse, of Canada. Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev and Japanese record holder Yoshihide Kiryu – two other sub-10 runners – are also down to run.

“I reached my pre-race target,” said the Chinese sprinter, who competed in Hong Kong just days after saying he wouldn’t because of a foot injury. “I’m happy with my performance today and met the target set out by my coach Randy Huntington,” he added. Ng Ka-fung was second in the race, clocking 10.40 seconds and third was Tsui Chi-ho in 10.59 seconds.

The mainlander, who won silver in the 60-metre sprint at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in March, said his target this year was the Diamond League – and not the Asian Games in Jakarta, where he will be among the gold medal favourites.

“The Diamond League races are my target this year and I think I can run just over 10 seconds in Shanghai,” said the mainlander who missed the first leg in Doha this week.

The mainlander also advised his Hong Kong counterparts to go on more overseas training and competitions and to bring in overseas coaching experts to help them improve as sprinters, just like many Chinese athletes are doing right now.

Meanwhile, high jumper Cecilia Yeung Man-wai blamed herself for a poor start to the season after failing to meet her target at the same meet.

Despite winning the annual title, Yeung managed only 1.76 metres, a sub-standard performance considering her Hong Kong mark stands at 1.88 metres set 12 months ago.

“My target was to clear at least 1.8 metres at my first attempt and in fact I had every chance to make it today,” said the popular track and field star. “I might not have sufficient training prior to the competition because of a thigh injury but I felt my form wasn’t too bad coming into the event. I should have cleared 1.78 metres and then carried on but unfortunately I made some minor mistakes and that cost me dearly as I failed all three attempts.

“It’s not going to affect my confidence as this is just the beginning of the season. There is still time to correct my mistakes and make improvements.”

Yeung hoped she could at least equal her Hong Kong record again before the Asian Games with a target of clearing 1.9 metres when she competes in the regional multi-sport games.

To help Yeung meet her targets which also include qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Amateur Athletic Association will work with the Sports Institute to provide Yeung a full-time high jump coach.

“She has got the talent and we want to give her the best possible support we can,” said association vice-chairman Simon Yeung Sai-mo.

Meanwhile, Vera Lui Lai-yiu set a personal best time of 13.44 seconds in winning the women’s 100 metre hurdles as she edged closer to breaking the Hong Kong record of 13.14 seconds held by Chan Sau-ying more than two decades ago.

“I can make it, just give me more time,” said Lui, who’s previous best was 13.56 seconds. “I didn’t expect to finish with such a good time and Wan Chai seems to be my favourite hunting ground. Hopefully I can improve the time when I race in the Taiwan Open later this month.”