Incheon: Qatar's Femi Ogunode won the Asian Games men's 100m yesterday in a continental record 9.93 seconds to make a triumphant return following his doping ban.
Femi Ogunode during his Asian Games 100m yesterday. Pics/AFP
The Nigerian-born sprinter declared he is aiming for gold at the 2016 Olympics, despite training without a coach for the last four months, and said only wet conditions in Incheon stopped him running even faster.
The victory brings a measure of redemption for the 23-year-old, who only returned to competitive running in January after a two-year suspension for testing positive for banned substance clenbuterol.
Ogunode is one of a host of African athletes who have switched allegiance to run for wealthy Gulf states, mainly Bahrain and Qatar. His win brought his adopted country a second Games gold, drawing them level with Bahrain, whose own Nigerian import Oluwakemi Adekoya won the women's 400m with consummate ease.
Masrahi's Asiad record
In the men's 400m, Saudi Arabia's two-time Asian champion Yousef Masrahi set a Games record as he blew the competition away, Bahrain's Abbas Abubaker Abbas a distant second.
Femi Ogunode poses with the timer showing his new Asian record during the Asian Games
Hopes for an Asia-born athlete finally breaking the 100m 10-second barrier sank in the rain, with China's Su Bingtan crossing second in 10.10 and Kei Takase of Japan third in 10.14. Chinese teammate Zhang Peimeng timed 10.18 in fourth.
Ogunode said he was always confident of victory and felt he had more to give. "I wanted to achieve more than that, like 9.8 but when the rain came it changed me mentally," he said.
"This is not my best form. My best form is yet to come. My main target is the Olympics."
China's Wei Yongli won a nail-biting women's 100m final in a photo finish from Chisato Fukushima of Japan.