Meet three Asian sprint hopefuls for the 2019 IAAF World Championships 

Asian 100m sprinters have never won a medal at the World Championships. We profile three of the continent's best hopes in the men's event.

No-one from Asia has ever won a 100m sprint medal at the Olympic Games or World Championships.

Indeed, Susanthika Jayasinghe is the only Asian to have won a medal in a sprint race, claiming Olympic silver at Sydney 2000 and two world medals in the women's 200m.

But there is a new generation of sprinters from the Far East that is hoping to change that at the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Doha.

Here, the Olympic Channel takes a closer look at three talents who could break through in the men's 100m.

Lalu Zohri (Indonesia)

Lalu Zohri at the 2018 U-20 World Championships
Lalu Zohri at the 2018 U-20 World ChampionshipsLalu Zohri at the 2018 U-20 World Championships

The 19-year-old Indonesian 100m sprinter who couldn’t afford shoes is now going to race with the fastest men on the planet at Tokyo 2020.

At 18, Lalu Zohri was already the fastest man in Southeast Asia and was just 0.3 seconds away from beating Olympic gold medallist Justin Gatlin in Japan in May 2019. He finished in third place in 10.3 seconds, which was a national record, which secured his ticket to Tokyo 2020.

Growing up, Zohri lived in a wood and woven bamboo home. The 2018 U-20 100m world champion was raised by his brothers and sisters following the loss of his parents while he was still in elementary school.

Before travelling to Finland for the youth worlds, he had to ask his sister to lend him 400,000 Indonesian Rupiah (U.S. $28) to buy shoes.

It was a trip that changed his life, turning him into the first Indonesian medallist in the 32-year history of the competition.

His winning time in July 2018 was 10.18, and within just 10 months, he had pushed his personal best down to 10.03 with proper training.

Indonesia's rising sprint star may be on his way to making more history at Tokyo 2020.

Xie Zhenye (China)

With Noah Lyles focusing on breaking Usain Bolt’s 200m world record, Xie Zhenye might be a good bet for a 100m medal in Doha.

The Chinese athlete came second behind Lyles at the Diamond League event in Zurich recently, finishing ahead of USA’s defending champion Justin Gatlin and Jamaica’s Yohan Blake.

It was a surprise finish in what was the first Diamond League 100m final with Chinese participation.

The historic second place came shortly after the man dubbed ‘the next Liu Xiang’ had broken the Asian 200m record in a time of 19.88, becoming the first man from his continent to go under 20 seconds. That result came at the London Diamond League meet, although the men's 200m race there was not part of the Diamond League programme.

The 26-year-old will arrive in good form following a summer where he also claimed second in the 100m at the Diamond League in Oslo.

Yuki Koike (Japan)

Yuki Koike became the only third Japanese sprinter to break the 10-second barrier when he clocked 9.98 seconds in the men's 100m final at the London Diamond League.

The 2018 Asian Games 200m champion shaved 0.6 seconds off his personal best to place fourth and said after the race that he feels he can grow further as an athlete.

Will he do so in time for Doha 2019? We will see.

The 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships run from 27 September to 6 October.

Yuki Koike competing in Doha at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Yuki Koike competing in Doha at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)Yuki Koike competing in Doha at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

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