Coleman gets another chance at break 'his' record

Silver medalist Christian Coleman of the US celebrates after the men's 100 meters final at the World Athletics Championships in London Stadium, London, in this file photo. — Reuters

NEW YORK — World silver medalist sprinter Christian Coleman gets another chance to break the 60 meters world record this weekend, a mark he believes already belongs to him. "I do believe I am the record holder, and I think a lot of people do as well regardless of if it is official," the 21-year-old American told Reuters in a telephone interview ahead of Saturday's Boston Indoor Grand Prix.

Coleman opened his season with an astonishing 6.37-second dash in the 60m at a meeting in Clemson, South Carolina last month, crossing the line 0.02 seconds quicker than countryman Maurice Greene's 20-year-old world record mark. However, the performance is not likely to ratified as a new global record because electronic starting blocks were not used.

The blocks, which measure false starts, are required for record-recognition purposes, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) says. The global governing body is now waiting for USA Track & Field (USATF) to decide whether to submit the mark for possible ratification.

"It will still be my PR (personal record) and nobody else has a faster PR," Coleman said. "In my opinion it is a world record." Despite his claim, Coleman does not expect the performance to be approved.

"I am thinking it is not because they didn't have the exact specifications," said Coleman, who drove for more than an hour after the race to meet an anti-doping official at a roadside stop to undergo a drugs test, another record requirement.

"I'm not too concerned about it," he added. "I know I have the capabilities to do it (break the record again). With his training going so well, the time had not really come as a shock, Coleman said. "The only part that surprised me was that it happened so early in the season."

A bigger audience will be watching on Saturday when Coleman returns to the indoor arena to go up against 300m world record holder Noah Lyles. "The key will be for him just to go out there and do what he did in Clemson," Greene told Reuters.

"The unique thing is when you get in a race and nobody is around you (like Clemson), it's like a tune-up race, you are very comfortable, you are very relaxed. But now he will have a couple of names beside him. So the intensity level comes up. The more comfortable Christian is, the more relaxed, he is going to run better."

Greene, a former world record holder in the 100m, believes Coleman can eventually run the 60 in 6.35 or 6.36 seconds. "I told him, 'Now you know you can run that fast, don't worry about trying to chase it (the world record), start perfecting your race'," the 2000 Olympic champion said.

The start is already there. "He does not look that tall, but he has very long legs," Greene said. "He's able to cover ground and he's very powerful. He's so explosive, everybody else is just chasing."

Learning to maintain his top speed will be a key, both in the 60 and the outdoor 100 meters, the retired Greene suggested, adding he believed Coleman could run the 100 in 9.7 seconds this year, a time only seven runners have ever achieved.

"Instead of him being upright about 20 or 25 meters and being top speed there, I would rather him hit his top speed a little further down the track, maybe about 40-45 meters," Greene said.

Coleman agreed. "Like Maurice said, I've got to work on holding my form and not slowing down as fast at the end," the US collegiate champion said. He would also like to correct a flaw from his Clemson race.

"I had a decent start," Coleman said. "Then I kind of felt an imbalance on my third and fourth steps and that kind of threw me off in my transition."

Precious 100ths of a second could be dropped with improvement there, all other things being equal, Greene said. "If he can push it out, and pick up his top-end speed a little further down the track, he is going to fly." — Reuters