Yoshihide Kiryu becomes first Japanese to break 10-sec 100m

09 September 2017 - 15:05 By AFP
21-year-old Japanese sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu poses beside a monitor displaying his new national record after the men's 100-metre final at the Japan National University Championships in Fukui on September 9, 2017. Kiryu became the first Japanese athlete breaking 10 seconds in the men's 100-metre event.
21-year-old Japanese sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu poses beside a monitor displaying his new national record after the men's 100-metre final at the Japan National University Championships in Fukui on September 9, 2017. Kiryu became the first Japanese athlete breaking 10 seconds in the men's 100-metre event.
Image: STR / JIJI PRESS / AFP

Yoshihide Kiryu on Saturday smashed a national 100-metre record in a time of 9.98 seconds to become the first Japanese to break the 10-second barrier.

The 21-year-old, a member of Japan's silver medal-winning men's 4x100 relay team at the Rio Olympics, shattered the previous record by 0.02 secs at an intercollegiate meet in Fukui, central Japan.

The Toyo University student started moderately in the final but raced past his rivals in top gear and finished first with a 1.8-metre tailwind.

Kiryu screamed with joy after crossing the line and pointed to a display clock showing his time.

"I'm thrilled to have done it in my last 100 race of the season," said Kiryu, according to Kyodo News.

"I'd been stuck for four years and I managed to rewrite my own record at last," he said.

"I'm on the starting block of the world now that I've run a nine," he added.

Kiryu, who ran a wind-assisted 9.87 in the 100m in 2015, had long competed with his domestic rivals, including Japan teen sensation Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, to achieve the national feat.

Japan's previous national record of 10.00 was set by Koji Ito in 1998. Ito's time was the Asian record until 2007 when Nigerian-born Qatari Samuel Francis streaked over the line in 9.99.

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