XI'AN, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- When Su Bingtian failed to win the National Games title in 2017, he heard the sounds of "You are done!" from outside.
Four years later, the 32-year-old Chinese sprinter lowered the Asian 100m record with a time of 9.83 seconds at Tokyo 2020, and also won his first ever National Games title.
"They said I've run out of gas," said Su after his victory with a Games record of 9.95 seconds here on Tuesday. "But I never give up, and I stick to my dream and stay on the track. The loss in 2017 has made me who I am today."
Su felt more pressure this time than when he became the first Chinese to qualify for the Olympic men's 100m final at Tokyo 2020.
"[Here] everyone believes I will be the champion. It's a totally different situation from Tokyo where I could be more concentrated. I knew I could win with my normal level, but if I lost again, I would probably choose to retire," said Su.
After taking up a teaching position at Jinan University in Guangzhou, Su had planned to retire in 2017 to spend more time with his family. But he was soon back following his inner calling.
He hopes his story and success can encourage young Chinese sprinters when they feel like they cannot continue.
"I'm 32 years old now, but I can run faster than I ever have. I want to tell young guys, don't waste any time. When you are 25, there are two Olympic Games waiting for you to fight for. Don't let people's words affect you, and stick to your own path with confidence."
Su also called for more understanding and patience toward Chinese athletics.
"Every athlete has low ebbs in their careers, and we should help them bounce back instead of constantly questioning them. When we athletes have a poor result, we need care from others like fans and journalists."
"If you want someone to run faster, you should give them more positive energy," added Su. Enditem