James Dasaolu breaks 10-second barrier at British Championships
Sprinter sets sights on Christie's British 100m record as he emerges as potential rival to Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay
Sunday 14 July 2013
On the hottest day of the year James Dasaolu blazed a trail for British sprinting to become the second quickest Briton of all time with a blistering run of 9.91 seconds – faster than anything even Usain Bolt has managed yet this season – at the Sainsbury's British Championships.
Only three Britons had previously gone under the 10-second barrier: Linford Christie, Jason Gardener and Dwain Chambers, who last achieved the feat 14 years ago.
But Dasaolu took advantage of perfect conditions in his semi-final to run within four hundredths of a second of beating Christie's British record, set en route to Christie being crowned world champion in Stuttgart 20 years ago. Britain have been crying out for a sprinter to challenge the world's best and Dasaolu showed he has the potential to do that. Only the American duo of Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin, and Jamaica's Asafa Powell, have run faster this season.
After experiencing cramp he opted to miss the final, which was won by Chambers. But the precaution was understandable for the 25-year-old, who is a relative latecomer. He only took up athletics seriously as an 18-year-old, and prior to starting work with coach Steve Fudge 18 months ago, had been plagued by injuries.
The Londoner, son of Nigerian parents, played down the significance of the withdrawal and admitted his focus is now on dipping further below his best at the World Championships in Moscow next month – his place in the team will be ratified on Tuesday.
"It's good to finally crack that magical number of sub-10 and to do it in Britain means so much to me, in front of a home crowd," he said. "I am so happy to finally go sub-10. I can't complain. I'm fourth in the world. It puts me in a good place leading up to Moscow."
With Chambers winning his seventh British title in a time of 10.04sec, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey clocking a personal best of 10.08 in second and Adam Gemili winning the European-Under 23 title on Friday, it leaves British sprinting in its strongest position for a long time. But Dasaolu warned that it is perhaps premature to aspire to beating Bolt.
"We all know that Usain Bolt will always bring his A game come Moscow," he said. "I am sure he will run much quicker then. Of course I want to challenge the Americans and the best guys in the world.
"To do that, I will have to run sub-10s on a regular basis, probably even go into the 9.8s." Having achieved that first sub-10 run, the next target is Christie's mark of 9.87. "It would be a dream of mine to one day hold the British record," added Dasaolu.
Another encouraging sign for British sprinting was provided by Asha Philip, who like Dasaolu has had a career blighted by injuries. She ran a personal best of 11.20 to book her place in the team for Moscow.
Dai Greene also enjoyed a timely return to form as he successfully defended his British title with a season's best of 48.66. He was pushed close by Rhys Williams but not even a personal best of 48.85 was sufficient to edge what was, to all intents and purposes, an all-Welsh final.
Greene, who underwent double hernia surgery earlier this year and then endured a slump in form due to a virus, said: "I felt like myself again. I'm very pleased to come away with the victory. It's been a tough few weeks. It's nice to turn it around. Physically I feel I'm training well."
Christine Ohuruogu comfortably beat a field including her 20-year-old sister Victoria in the 400m to mark her out as a serious contender to emulate her world-title win six years ago.
Jess Judd appeared to run out of steam in the 800m as she finished second behind Marilyn Okoro. Judd, 18, who had not been defeated this year, struggled to match Okoro's turn of pace on the final bend.
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