Teenager Yoshihide Kiryu was close to becoming the first Japanese sprinter to break the 10-second barrier at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix on Sunday. He crossed in third in 10.40 at National Stadium.
American Mike Rodgers won the final in 10.19 while Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas finished runner-up in 10.24, Kyodo news agency reports.
Kiryu holds a world record for juniors, after running 100 meters in 10.01 seconds at a competition in Hiroshima. He is now one of the only three men under-20 who managed to achieve this result and thus he raised expectations that he could become the first Japanese athlete ever to break the 10 second barrier in the 100 meters.
However, the result of 10.40 seconds placed him on the third position in the competition.
“I admit that I had an intention to run under 10 seconds somewhere in my mind, but as the race came close, I thought I must try to take a better position rather than a time,” said Kiryu.
“I did not have any pressure. Since it is still early in the season, I have a possibility to break the 10-second barrier. I will do my best,” added Kiryu.
Looking back in time, running 100 meters in less than 10 seconds is not that easy.
The task has been achieved by only about 80 male runners, nearly all of them of West African descent, since American Jim Hines clocked 9.95 at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.