Feature | Athletics

Christian Coleman: "I think I can go much faster"

The world's fastest man in 2018 hopes to claim his first world title in September before setting his sights on Tokyo 2020.

By Rory Jiwani ·

At last year's Diamond League Final in Brussels, Christian Coleman showed the world what he could do.

The American won the 100m in 9.79s, the fastest time of 2018.

It put him level with 2000 Olympic champion Maurice Greene in seventh place on the all-time list.

But he insists there is more to come. Much more.

“I think I can go much faster, I just gotta continue to work hard.” - Christian Coleman speaking to IAAF

Christian Coleman celebrates winning the 2018 Diamond League Final 100m in Brussels

Fitness the key

Coleman won his first global athletics medal at the 2017 World Championships in London.

He managed to beat Usain Bolt in the 100m, but had to settle for silver behind another Olympic gold medallist, compatriot Justin Gatlin.

Justin Gatlin (L) wins the 100m at the 2017 London World Championships from Christian Coleman and Usain Bolt

Coleman started 2018 in fine style by breaking the indoor 60m world record before claiming the world indoor title.

A nagging hamstring injury interrupted the start of his outdoor campaign, persuading him not to compete over 200m during the season.

He had a six-week break before returning with a sub-10 second victory over Ronnie Baker at the Rabat Diamond League in July.

But he still didn't feel 100 percent and took another month off before coming back to win again, this time in Birmingham, UK.

Two weeks later came his new personal best in Brussels.

"That was the first time I was able to come into a race fully confident in my health and fitness. And I think it showed."

Christian Coleman glides to victory in the 2018 Diamond League Final 100m in Brussels ahead of Yohan Blake

Now the 23-year-old is hoping for an injury-free campaign leading into the World Championships in Doha starting in September 2019.

"The whole season just has to run smoothly, from off season training to speed conditioning to speed training to race modeling. Everything just has to flow.

"Having a break in my season where I was injured, I wasn’t really able to train and (was) still trying to go out there and compete.

"That really kind of set me back, and set me back in the flow of things. I had to finally take some time off and get back healthy and start my whole process over with base training and trying to get that fitness back."

Doubling up

Having stuck to the 100m last year, Coleman is keen to prove his worth over 200m as well this term.

This puts him on a collision course with rising star Noah Lyles, the fastest man over 200m last season with 19.65s, who says he will not run the 100m at the World Championships.

Coleman has achieved plenty since setting his 200m personal best of 19.85s in 2017.

And coach Emanuel Hudson is adamant Coleman can be a world-beater at both distances.

Hudson told Reuters, "Christian Coleman always has considered himself a 100-200 metres athlete. Ideally he is going to run both at the Olympic Games.

"I think his 200m time is going to be something off the charts."

Coleman decided to start his diamond league season by running the 100m in Shanghai (18th May) and is also signed up for the shorter sprint at the Eugene Diamond League (being held this year in Stanford) on 30 June.

But crunch time will be the United States Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa in late July. Only the top three in each event qualifying for the Worlds.

After last season's injury woes, Hudson says the plan is to look after his charge over the course of what is a long season.

He said, “He’s healthy. We are not putting him in a whole bunch of meets and his last likely race, in Lausanne, will be 20 days before the U.S. Championships."