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China's sprinters continue to accelerate

Reporter: Damion Jones 丨 CCTV.com

05-19-2016 15:56 BJT

The IAAF World Challenge marks another strong performance by China's sprinters, who continue to make improvements in the short distance events, which they hope will culminate with podium positions at the Rio Olympics. And as Damion Jones reports, the sport's top stars are taking notice at the increasing number of accolades the PRC's fastest runners have been compiling. 

As track and field enthusiasts settled in for the IAAF World Challenge at the Bird's Nest, many were hoping to witness first-hand what multiple analysts believe might be the start of a shake-up in sprinting. And while interacting with local fans before the competition got underway, Justin Gatlin would note that he's keeping a close eye on the recent strides made by China's quickest athletes.

"It's a special moment because now you see Chinese athletes coming out. They're competing with bravery, they're competing with a lot of heart, and they want to be able to do it for their nation. So to see that happen ... and Su has broke the 10-second barrier ... I think he's awoken a lot of young athletes to come out here and do the same thing," said Justin Gatlin, USA sprinter.

Some of those youngsters who hope to follow in Su Bingtian's footsteps would actually face him and his national teammates in the 4×100 meter relay, but the PRC's fleetest foursome would cruise to the finish line well ahead of their regional and provincial opponents, while readily acknowledging that the hardest work is yet to come.

"We are facing strong opponents from around the world. Among them, the USA and Jamaica are the most powerful teams. They are better individually, so we need to improve our personal abilities, and at the same time, work on our baton exchanges even more," said Zhang Peimeng, China sprinter.

China's relay victory only served to whet the audience's appetite for more feats of speed, as that win did not come against the level of competition they hope to beat at the Rio Olympics this summer, but it would be a different story in the final event of the evening -- the men's 100 meter dash.

That's where the 2004 Olympic gold medalist Gatlin would take top honors against a field including Zhang Peimeng and Xie Zhenye running in the outer lanes, but Su says results like this only strengthen the PRC's resolve to pick up the pace.

"I think we have a stronger team than last year, thanks to Xie Zhenye and Yang Yang's participation. They are improving every day. Our goal is to make to the final at the Rio Games, and we are confident about this," said Su Bingtian, China sprinter.

And if everything comes together for the Chinese sprinters in Rio, supporters like those packing the venue which hosted the 2008 Summer Games, will undoubtedly be cheering louder than ever.

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