Lalu Zohri of Indonesia blasting his way from humble beginnings to Olympic contention
Indonesia’s teenage sprinter Lalu Muhammad Zohri can hardly wait for the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha.
The 18-year-old just seems to be getting better and better.
On Sunday, he smashed the national U20 record in the 200m clocking 20.81 seconds at Madya Stadium in Jakarta.
Zohri actually bettered his own record - set in the semis on Saturday - by 0.33 seconds.
"My target was not to break the record, because my coach (Eni Nuraini) told me after speaking to my doctor, that I am not at maximum, and I am still at 90 or 95%," he told Bola.com.
"Maybe my coach was too scared. She didn't want us to run at the maximum level because soon there will be a bigger event, the World Championships in September."
Zohri qualified for the World Championships and Tokyo 2020 last May.
Zohri raising expectations
Interestingly, it was Zohri's first 200m in two years.
And he has just recovered from an injury to his left knee that has bothered him since May.
He was visibly proud that all the hard work and training are paying off in his debut year as a senior.
"I had not run 200 metres for a long time. It's been about two years. So now I am just starting to see the results of my training. I'm happy and satisfied."
It was another huge result for Zohri, who rose from poverty to become one of Indonesia’s biggest sprinting stars.
Zohri won the 100m in 10.18 at the IAAF World U20 championships in Tampere, Finland in 2018.
The budding youngster also clinched gold at the Asian Junior championships in Japan.
Ready for the big stage
In Doha, Zohri plans to focus on the 100m.
"Hopefully, I can go under 10 seconds, because I will be facing the world's top runners," he said.
I am so excited and grateful to be able to represent Indonesia at the World Championship," Zohri - Indosport.
The teenager is the youngest of a family of four born on the Eastern island of Lombok where they shared a wood and woven bamboo home.
He lost his mother and his father while still in elementary school and was raised by his brothers and sisters.
Zohri honed his talent with limited funding and basic training.
He even had to borrow 400,000 Indonesian Rupiah (28US$) from his older sister to buy shoes to compete in Finland.
Since then, he seems to be maturing and improving with every race.