Christian Coleman wins the 60m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 (© Getty Images)
It was another record-breaking 60m blast from Christian Coleman, and a first global gold medal for the burgeoning 21-year-old US sprint talent from the USA.
This time the world record was spared, the 6.34 that the Atlanta native clocked in the thin air of Albuquerque at the US Championships on 18 February, smashing Maurice Greene’s 20-year-old global mark of 6.39 to smithereens.
Instead, it was that 6.42 championship record set by Greene in Maebashi in 1991 that Coleman claimed. Stealing a gap of China’s Su Bingtian on the drive out of the blocks, the 2017 world outdoor 100m silver medallist maintained it to the line, finishing in 6.37.
It was the second fastest indoor 60m of all time, matching the unratifiable figures Coleman clocked out of unwired blocks at Clemson University on 19 January. Su, hitherto unbeaten on the boards this season, was rewarded with an Asian record 6.42 in second, with Coleman’s US colleague Ronnie Baker taking the bronze in 6.44. Then came Su’s inspired Chinese team-mate Zhenye Xie, fourth in 6.52, followed by Iran’s Hassan Taftian, fifth in 6.53.
“I made it through the snow; I got here,” Coleman said, sounding somewhat downbeat in his trackside interview with 2000 Olympic 400m bronze medallist Katharine Merry. “I felt pretty good. Me and my coach have been working a lot. I’m definitely proud of it.”
After time for reflection, the new world indoor 60m champion sounded even prouder.
“I don't think I can ever get used to this kind of feeling,” Coleman said later. “You work so hard and put so much emphasis into running and you'll never get tired of the feeling of winning.
"It's always a great feeling and I'm pretty excited. This year I didn't come here to chase a world record but I knew I'd put in a lot of work.
"When I've put things together during the meets, special things have happened but I'm excited for the outdoor season. I won't put a limit on myself. We'll just see what happens.
"I have a good chance to lead the sport in the post-Bolt era but like I've told so many others, loads of guys have the talent.
"I have to make sure I keep working to stay on top and when I get the opportunity to take gold medals you take them."
Su became only the fifth male Chinese athlete to snatch a world indoor medal, following in the footsteps of Liu Xiang, who won his first senior global medal – bronze in the 60m hurdles - at the 2003 championships in the same arena. “Liu Xiang is my idol and also my friend,” said Su.
"I was always so close to a medal in recent championships and finally I got one. Back home, I expect there will be a big celebration as this is my dream come true."
Simon Turnbull for the IAAF