Chinese sprinter Su Bingtian has become the first Asian athlete to appear in the men's 100m final at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Athletics on Sunday.
Su sprinted the 100m in 9.99 seconds in the semifinals to quality as one of the nine fastest men in the world. Although in the final, his time of 10.06 seconds had him come in last place.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine reaching the final of the world championships, and now that I've done it I still can't believe it happened," Su said after his groundbreaking performance in the semis.
Olympic champion Usain Bolt from Jamaica won the 100m with a time of 9.79 seconds. The American Justin Gatlin took the silver with 9.80 seconds, while Andre De Grasse of Canada and Tayvon Bromell of the U.S. tied for the bronze with a time of 9.92 seconds.
Su now has his sights on the 4X 100m relay to be held on Aug. 29.
Su will be teamed with Zhang Peimeng, Xie Zhenye and Chen Shiwei for the event. Su's team finished in 37.99 seconds to win gold in the 4X 100m at the 2014 Asian Games, breaking the Asian record that Japan held for seven years.
"The relay will be a bigger challenge for us, but judging from the result we achieved last year, it's possible for us to make it into the top five (in the final)," said the 25-year-old sprinter. "The relay race reflects the overall level of a country's strength in sprinting, and we've made big progress."
"If he continues training under the most advanced guidance in the U.S. and remains free from injury, I think his limit will be around 9.96 sec," said Xiong Xibei, a professor of athletic training at Beijing Sport University.
The IAAF World Championships in Athletics takes place every two years. This year, Beijing is the host city, with the primary venue being the iconic Bird's Nest Stadium, making it the largest sporting event to take place in the venue since the 2008 Summer Olympics.