|100 Metres||9.99||+1.5||Eugene (Hayward Field), OR||30 MAY 2015|
|100 Metres||9.99||-0.4||Beijing (National Stadium)||23 AUG 2015|
|60 Metres||6.50||Portland (Oregon Convention Center), OR||18 MAR 2016|
|2017||10.09||+0.1||Shanghai (SS)||13 MAY|
|2016||10.08||0.0||Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico)||14 AUG|
|2015||9.99||-0.4||Beijing (National Stadium)||23 AUG|
|2015||9.99||+1.5||Eugene (Hayward Field), OR||30 MAY|
|2012||10.19||+1.3||London (Olympic Stadium)||04 AUG|
|2016||6.50||Portland (Oregon Convention Center), OR||18 MAR|
|2015||6.61||New York (Armory), NY||14 FEB|
|2014||6.52||Sopot (Ergo Arena)||08 MAR|
|2012||6.74||Istanbul (Ataköy Arena)||10 MAR|
|IAAF World Indoor Championships||5||6.54||Portland (Oregon Convention Center), OR||18 MAR 2016|
|IAAF World Indoor Championships 2014||4||6.52||Sopot (Ergo Arena)||08 MAR 2014|
|IAAF World Indoor Championships 2012||5sf3||6.74||Istanbul (Ataköy Arena)||10 MAR 2012|
|The XXXI Olympic Games||4sf3||10.08||0.0||Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico)||14 AUG 2016|
|15th IAAF World Championships||9||10.06||-0.5||Beijing (National Stadium)||23 AUG 2015|
|14th IAAF World Championships||sf1||DQ R162.7||Moskva (Luzhniki)||11 AUG 2013|
|The XXX Olympic Games||8sf2||10.28||+1.0||London (Olympic Stadium)||05 AUG 2012|
Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.
Created 16 March 2016
Su Bingtian, China (100m/60m)
Born 29 August 1989 in Zhongshan, Guangdong
Coach: Yuan Guoqiang
Having a packed stadium sing “happy birthday” to you is something that does not happen to everyone. But Chinese sprinter Su Bingtian is lucky enough to have experienced this joyful scene.
After helping his county to win a landmark silver medal in the men’s 4x100 metres relay at the 2015 IAAF World Championships on 29 August, some 80,000 spectators in the stands of the iconic Bird’s Nest celebrated Su’s 26th birthday with jubilant cheers and chanting.
“It was the most memorable birthday of my life. I have never thought of so many people singing a birthday song to me. This is the moment of a lifetime,” recalls the first sub-10 Chinese sprinter.
It is fair to say that the World Championships in Beijing was the peak of Su’s career. He equalled his national record of 9.99 seconds in the semi-finals to become the first Asian man ever to reach the 100m final at the World Championships on August 23.
"When I stood at the starting line, watching the finish ahead of us while surrounded by thunderous cheers and applause from the stands, I knew I was not representing myself," says Su.
"Reaching the 100m final at a major global event is a dream shared by not only myself, but also all the Chinese sprinters, generation after generation. Standing at that starting line, I knew it was a long-awaited moment."
"I just told myself I would never ever have another false start," says Su, referring to the rueful memory when he was disqualified for false start in the semi-final at the Moscow World Championships in 2013.
"In the final, my reaction time was 0.175s, while my average is around 0.150s. I just did not want to take any risk," he explains.
Although Su just finished ninth in the 100m final, the feat, combined by the 4 x 100m silver medal as well as the Asian record set in the relay heats, was good enough for Su to establish himself as a national hero. He was given the Best Breakthrough Award at the annual China's Central Television (CCTV) Sports Awards ceremony early in 2016.
But back in 2003, when he was first added to the track and field team of his junior high school, he was just a small boy carrying bags and doing errands for his senior teammates. Nobody, including Su himself, believed that the errand boy could one day become the fastest man in the world’s most populous country.
“After the 100m final, I returned to my room and took a shower. I wanted to call my parents. But it was already mid-night. So I waited until the next morning,” he recalls.
Su was born in a rural area in China’s south-eastern province of Guangdong where his father works as a night guard in a local factory and his mother is a house wife doing short-term jobs to help out with the family expenses.
Although Su is not from a sporting family, he inherited good sports genes. Among his 11 cousins, six of them used to train in athletics, but only Su managed to emerge to national level.
At a very young age, Su showed his potential in sprinting with his great explosive and elastic strength. He won his first 100m title at the municipal High School Sports Meeting in November 2004 and then he was selected into the sports school in the city of Zhongshan.
Two years later he was promoted to the provincial team, where he met his current coach Yuan Guoqiang, who set China’s first national record in the digital timing era with a PB of 10.52
“Yuan is a very experienced coach, one of the best in the country,” says Su. “I have learned a lot from him and most importantly I am really pleased to train with a coach who is also a fellow townsman.”
Yuan and Su are both from Guangdong Province and can both speak Cantonese, a dialect Su tends to use when communicating with his family and local peers. And chemistry between the pair came soon as Su improved his 100m personal best to 10.45 in 2007.
In the following year Su claimed his first national title at the National Indoor Championships and trimmed his PB to 10.41 while he was still a junior athlete.
The year 2009 was the first shining point of his career. He won in 11 tournaments in that year, including the Asian Indoor Games in Hanoi and the East Asian Games, improving his 100m PB to 10.28.
He opened 2010 with an indoor PB of 6.58 in Chengdu, equalling the Chinese indoor record. But a thigh muscle injury hindered him from make any further progress in 100m.
In 2011 Su not only broke the national indoor record but also shattered the 13-year-long 100m record by clocking 10.16 at the National Championships. In the following year Su became the first Chinese sprinter to reach the 100m semi-finals at the Olympic Games.
The experience of running alongside World record holder Usain Bolt in London gave him more motivation to progress.
“I know there is still a big gap between us and the world best sprinters. But I believe one day Chinese can also stand side-by-side with them in the finals,” said Su after finishing eighth in semi-final 2 in 10.28.
The year 2013 turned out to be a major setback for Su. Although he managed to better his PB to 10.06 as he finished third at the IAAF World Challenge in Beijing, he lost his 100m national record to Zhang Peimeng and later was disqualified for false start in the semi-final of the World Championships in Moscow.
Zhang also failed to make it to the final in Moscow, but he clocked a new national record of 10.00 in the semi-final to grab the limelight. And he went on to beat Su in the 100m at the National Games in September.
“It is a good thing to have Zhang as a teammate as well as an opponent. We can spur each other to progress and meanwhile help to improve the performance of the Chinese relay team,” Su comments.
Spearheaded by Su and Zhang, the Chinese 4x100m relay team clocked an Asian record of 37.99 to win the gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. And Su also make a huge individual breakthrough in that year as he finished fourth at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, setting a 60m national record in 6.52.
After the 2014 season, Su made a bold and revolutionary technique change starting from that winter.
When Su first began to train in sprinting, he had been using his right foot to start off. But he always found his third step a little bit weak and unsteady which would affect his intermediate running and the whole rhythm. After consulting with his coach Yuan, Su changed his way to start with his left foot going forward first.
"It was like a desperate gamble, a brand new start for me. I knew if it works I would find some room to improve, otherwise it could lead to the end of my career," Su says.
And the gamble paid off.
On May 30, 2015, Su sprinted to a national record of 9.99 to become the first Chinese athlete to dip under the 10-second barrier, finishing third at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene.
"If I did not train in athletics from the very start, I could be a married guy now, and a father perhaps, with an ordinary job and an ordinary life. Luckily, I made the right choice at the first place. I am really enjoying my life," Su says.
Apart from training and competing, Su tends to lead an indoor man’s life in his spare time. He likes to browse around or watch TV series on his laptop and have Chinese-style hot-pot with his teammates and friends.
"I do not think I am a hero. I am just a stepping-stone, a stepping-stone like my coach Yuan and all the country's sprinting foregoers, a stepping-stone to pave the way for more youngsters to push the speed limit for China," says Su.
"I hope my story can encourage those young people who have been training or are about to train in sprinting, encouraging them to believe that Chinese can also run fast and maybe even reach the podium at the World Championships or Olympic Games one day,” he comments.
Currently a happy bachelor, Su is not eager to end his single life.
“For now my priority is the Olympic Games in Rio. I think only after the Olympics in August shall I consider getting married,” says Su, whose girlfriend is his primary school classmate.
60m: 6.52 NR (2014)
100m: 9.99 NR (2015)
60m Indoor: 2008-6.71; 2009-6.65; 2010-6.58 =NR; 2011-6.56 NR; 2012-6.74; 2013-6.55 NR; 2014-6.52 NR; 2015-6.61; 2016-6.53
100m: 2006-10.59; 2007-10.45; 2008-10.41; 2009-10.28; 2010- -; 2011-10.16 NR; 2012-10.19; 2013-10.06; 2014-10.10; 2015-9.99 NR
2009 1st Asian Indoor Games, Hanoi (60m) 6.65
2009 1st East Asian Games, Hong Kong (100m) 10.33
2009 6th National Games, Jinan (100m) 10.52 (10:41 h)
2010 1st Asian Indoor Games, Hanoi (60m) 6.65
2011 1st Asian Athletics Championships, Kobe (100m) 10.21
2011 1st Asian Athletics Championships, Kobe (4x100m) 39:33 (39.15 h)
2011 3rd Universiade, Shenzhen (100m) 10.27
2012 sf World Indoor Championships, Istanbul (60m) 6.74
2012 sf Olympic Games, London (100m) 10.28 (10:19 h)
2013 1st Asian Athletics Championships, Pune (100m) 10.17
2013 3rd Asian Athletics Championships, Pune (4x100m) 39:17
2013 sf World Championships, Moscow (100m) DQ
2013 1st East Asian Games, Tianjin (100m) 10.31
2014 4th World Indoor Championships, Sopot (60m) 6.52 NR
2014 2nd Asian Games, Incheon (100m) 10.10
2014 1st Asian Games, Incheon (4x100m) 37:99 AR
2015 1st Asian Championships, Wuhan (4x100m) 39:04 (39.02 h)
2015 9th World Championships, Beijing (100m) 10.06 (9:99 sf)
2015 2nd World Championships, Beijing (4x100m) 38:01 (37:92 AR h)
Prepared by Vincent WU for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2016