Sport

Tuesday 27 September 2016

From the Stands: Dubliner had a role in Chinese advance

John Greene & Fergus McDonnell

Published 07/06/2015 | 02:30

Su Bingtian became the first Chinese and first Asian-born athlete to break the 10-second barrier
Su Bingtian became the first Chinese and first Asian-born athlete to break the 10-second barrier

When sport is being dragged through the mud - as it has been in recent weeks - some events slip by almost unnoticed. The true purpose of endeavour becomes sidelined as all the grubbiness is put front and centre.

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The Prefontaine Classic - named in honour of American Olympic athlete Steve, who was killed in a car accident 40 years ago at the age of 24 - is one of the most important track and field meetings of the year in the US. It's held in Eugene, Oregon, and is part of the Diamond League.

At this year's meet, held last weekend, there was a breakthrough performance from Chinese athlete Su Bingtian, who ran 9.99 seconds for the 100 metres. In doing so, he became the first Chinese and first Asian-born athlete to break the magical 10-second barrier.

"I am so proud for my result. I can write my name into history now and will work harder and run faster," said Su, who finished third in a race won by Tyson Gay (9.88). "This is definitely a huge boost for me."

Interestingly, Su spent three months at the start of the year, along with his Chinese 4x100m relay team-mates (who were ranked third in the world in 2014), training at the IMG Academy in Florida in preparation for the World Championships in Beijing this August, under the tutelage of renowned sprint coach Loren Seagrave and Dubliner John Coghlan, who is well known here as a coach, but who is now building an international reputation as well.

Speaking to From The Stands, Coghlan praised the athlete's diligence and dedication in following the 12-week programme set out for him. He said there had been a particular emphasis on his technical training, strength and power development and biomechanical feedback.

Britain's European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey was quoted on the BBC website with regard to the allegations which surfaced last week about Mo Farah's coach, Alberto Salazar.

"I'm not here to accuse anyone," said Pavey, "but if there was anybody I was slightly associated with that I suddenly realised had these accusations against them - or any of my training partners - I'd run a mile."

The question is, how fast would an athlete associated with Salazar run that mile?

And there's more; when asked about the allegations, Farah said: "I have not taken any banned substances and Alberto has never suggested that I take a banned substance."

When asked about the allegations, Galen Rupp, an Olympic 10,000m silver medallist, said: "I have not taken any banned substances and Alberto has never suggested that I take a banned substance."

Those of us who don't remember Italia '90, and even those of us who think we do, might benefit from a reality check.

Those 19 days, from our opening group game against England on June 11 to our elimination by Italy on June 30, might be remembered as a golden era in Irish football, when it was actually just about as dull a run as anything Giovanni Trapattoni presided over.

Ireland opened their Group F campaign with a 1-1 win against England (not getting beaten was always considered a victory by Jack's Army, especially against England), followed it up with an interminably dull scoreless draw against Egypt and finished with a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands which, if there was any justice, would have seen both teams fined for bringing the game into disrepute, or for match-fixing, or both.

Having finished level in the group with the Dutch, the luck of the draw saw us get Romania, while they had to play West Germany. Another scoreless draw was followed by a 1-0 defeat to Italy and a heroes' welcome when they returned to Dublin.

Over the course of five games, the team had managed to score two goals and didn't win a match, and yet the tournament is remembered with such fondness.

It's amazing the power of the party.

ssport@independent.ie

Sunday Indo Sport

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