Feature: China's 17-year-old sprinter debuts at Student (Youth) Games with national jr record

(Xinhua) 13:07, November 08, 2023

NANNING, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- A young Chinese sprinter, Wu Haolin, has become a viral sensation after clocking 10.31 seconds in the men's 100m final, breaking the national junior record at the ongoing inaugural Chinese Student (Youth) Games.

Wu, who just celebrated his 17th birthday, shaved 0.04s off the previous national junior record to clinch the 100m gold last Thursday in Nanning, the capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The previous record of 10.35s was set ten years ago by Mo Youxue in Donetsk, Ukraine, making him the first Chinese athlete to win the men's 100m gold medal at the World Athletics U18 Championships.

"I'm thrilled to witness such a good result in the Games," said Mo, who believes the young sprinter is full of promise.

Wu, who mentioned that Mo is one of his role models, went on to win the men's 4x100m relay gold medal for Team Guangzhou on Monday, concluding his successful journey at the Chinese inaugural Student (Youth) Games.

"When I handed the baton to Wu, I knew that the gold medal was secured," said Chen Qiwei, the third leg sprinter of Team Guangzhou.

Wu told Xinhua that he was relaxed during the races because previous competition experiences helped him chill down.

Topics related to Wu soon went viral on the country's social media after his stunning performance, and the young athlete was hailed as "Su Bingtian's successor."

Wu was born and raised in Guangdong, a south China province that is the hometown of many talented sprinters including the Asian 100m record holder Su. Unlike many talented athletes, Wu was born into a family without any members engaged in sports. His father, a fan of athletics, introduced Wu to the sport.

The young boy has shown talent for sprinting since childhood. During his freshman year at Panyu Middle School in Guangdong Province, the seventh-grader met his coach Deng Jiandong and started training during weekends and vacations. In the third year of junior high school, he transferred to Guangzhou Polytechnic of Sports for systematic training.

"Sports gives me confidence, and I feel free when I run," Wu said that his decision to transfer to the sports school received support from his parents.

The year 2023 has witnessed many breakthroughs in his career. In June, Wu improved his personal best to 10.42s in the National Athletics Grand Prix in Chongqing. In August, he won the 100m gold medal at the East Asian Youth Games. In September, the teenager finished third in the men's 4x100 relay with teammates at the National Athletics Grand Prix in Shangyu to win his first senior medal at the national level.

Boosted by his two gold medals at the Chinese Student (Youth) Games, Wu will start winter training to prepare for next year's World Athletics U20 Championships in Lima, Peru.

"Of course, I want to dip under 10.30s. I will try to polish my running techniques, especially the starting technique," he said.

Speaking of his long-term goal, Wu hopes that one day he can stand on the track of the Olympic Games like his idols Usain Bolt and Su Bingtian.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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