PARIS – Shingo Suetsugu shrugged off a late start to win the bronze medal in the men’s 200 meters final at the World Championships on Friday, becoming the first Japanese medalist in a sprint at either the Olympics or worlds.
Friday in Paris.
Suetsugu had to dig deep after the turn to finish in a tight group with a time of 20.38 seconds, just behind Americans John Capel and Darvis Patton, who clocked 20.30 and 20.31, respectively, at the Stade de France.
The 23-year-old Suetsugu, who owns the Japanese national record of 20.03, topped Britain’s Darren Campbell by 0.01 to claim his place in history.
“I still can’t believe that I won the bronze medal,” Suetsugu said. “My left leg had a spasm midway through the race and don’t remember anything of what happened down the final stretch. The final had its own surreal atmosphere to it.”
Suetsugu had planned to run in the 100 as well, aiming to become the first Asian sprinter to break the 10-second barrier, but decided to focus his energy on the 200.
He cruised through the preliminaries and semifinals to become the first Japanese to advance to the final in either the Olympics or worlds. Suetsugu also became the first Asian to claim a medal in a sprint.
It was the second medal for Japan after Koji Murofushi’s bronze in the hammer throw.
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