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Bolt’s heir apparent Coleman wins world indoor 60m title

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King of speed: Christian Coleman wins 60m gold © AFP / Ben STANSALL

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom, Mar 4US track sensation Christian Coleman lived up to his billing as the sprinter most likely to fill the sizeable spikes of now-retired Usain Bolt by streaking to gold in the men’s 60m at the World Indoor Championships on Saturday.

Coleman, who set an altitude-assisted 6.34-second world indoor record at the US championships in Albuquerque last month, led from gun to tape to clock a championship record of 6.37sec and then admitted he had a “good chance” to lead the sport in the absence of Bolt.

Su Bingtian of China lowered the Asian record to 6.42sec when he took silver, with Coleman’s US teammate Ronnie Baker, third fastest man of all time over 60m, claiming bronze (6.44sec).

Starting in lane four, with Su inside him and Baker in six, Coleman enjoyed an electrifying start, shooting out low with head bowed.

After his first 10 vigorous paces, the 21-year-old American powered up into his drive phase and made no mistake as he dipped savagely through the line for a first global title.

Although Coleman has insisted that he is not looking to be the “new Usain Bolt”, the world of track and field will be buoyed by the confirmed arrival of the American upstart who pushed Bolt back into bronze when he took silver in the 100m at last year’s London world outdoor championships.

“I don’t think I can ever get used to this kind of feeling!” said Coleman.

“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 and executed it through practice.”

Coleman said he would not set himself any limits and would not pass up the opportunity to bag gold medals.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

China’s Su came into Birmingham on a run of very good form, having already lowered the Asian record twice this season before doing it again in the final.

He predicted a big party back in China after nailing his country’s first 60m podium placing.

“I was always so close to the medal in recent championships so finally I got it,” Su said.

“Back home, I expect there will be a big celebration as this is my dream come true.”

Bronze medallist Baker, the third fastest man ever over 60m, predicted a great season alongside compatriot Coleman.

“Christian is a great teammate, we’re both flying and we push each other and it’ll make for a really interesting outdoor season,” he said.

“He’s set the bar high and everyone else has got to try and catch up to him but this is America’s time.”

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