Asian Games: Japan sprinter Ryota Yamagata takes 100m confidence boost

Japanese sprinters failed to win the much-desired men’s 100-meter gold on Sunday at the Asian Games, but Ryota Yamagata, a Rio de Janeiro men’s 4×100-meter Olympic silver medalist, said he sees his prospects improving.

«It is really big that I didn’t feel 9.92 seconds is in a world that is so distant for me,» Yamagata told reporters in Jakarta after winning bronze in the men’s 100 by matching his personal best of 10.00 seconds.

Although Yamagata finished third behind China’s Su Bingtian, who ran a games record 9.92 seconds, and Qatar’s Tosin Ogunode who beat him in a photo finish with an identical time, he looked happy with his accomplishment.

Yamagata, 26, said he felt Su had already got away from him immediately after the race started, but he found that he was able to track his pace «better than I thought.»

Still, Yamagata, captain of Japan’s team at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, did not avoid saying that he needs to break the 10-second barrier as soon as he can.

«I have to strengthen my technique and power,» he said. «But there were some aspects (of my performance) that have improved my self-confidence.»

Su became the first Asian-born sprinter to break the 10-second barrier. The 28-year-old is the co-holder of the Asian record of 9.91 seconds, tying Qatar’s Nigerian-born Ogunode who first registered the time in 2015.

Athletics: Kiryu runs 9.98 in 100, 1st Japanese to break 10-second barrier

With Japan aiming for its first men’s 100 title since Koji Ito won the gold in Bangkok in 1998, and in stark contrast to his teammate Yamagata, Asuka Cambridge left the 100 frustrated.

Cambridge, 25, born to a Japanese mother and a Jamaican father, was eliminated in the semifinals after clocking 10.36, the 11th fastest time.

«I’m disappointed that I couldn’t advance (to the final),» he said. «My condition itself isn’t bad. But I found it quite difficult to move as I had imagined.»

Looking downcast, he said both his start and mid-race acceleration were problematic.

All — Kyodo News+

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