Lalu Muhammad Zohri breaks the Southeast Asian record for the 100-meter sprint at theĀ 2019 Asian Athletics Championship in Doha on Monday (22/04). (Photo courtesy of IAAF)

Lalu Zohri: Fastest Man in Southeast Asia

APRIL 23, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesian teen sprinter Lalu Muhammad Zohri won silver in the 100 meters at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar, on Monday (22/04). Zohri also broke his personal best time, the national record and became the fastest man in Southeast Asia.

The sprinter stole the spotlight last year by winning the 100 meters in the junior world championship in Finland.

In August, he was part of the Indonesian 4x400-meter relay team that won the silver medal in the Asian Games, only the second time the country won the medal since the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games. 

In Doha, Zohri ran the 100-meter sprint final in 10.13 seconds to finish second behind Japanese sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu, who ran 10.10 seconds. Chinese sprinter Zhiqiang Wu came third in 10.18 seconds.

Zohri, running in lane three in the final, made a better start than in the semi-final, when he ran 10.15 seconds, also a national record. 

He actually took the lead in the final before being overtaken by Yoshihide in the last 10 meters.

"I lost concentration. I started thinking about the other runners," Zohri said in an official statement.

In the statement, Zohri also thanked God for his win and said he was grateful for the support from his Indonesian fans and from the Indonesian Athletics Federation (PB PASI).

Zohri has improved rapidly as a sprinter in the past 12 months. In Doha, he broke the Southeast Asian record of 10.17 seconds made by his senior Suryo Agung Wibowo during the elimination round of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Zohri's success in the 100 meters owes a lot to the strategy devised by his coach, Eni Nuraeni Sumartoyo.

Eni, who won the 2019 Best Coach in Asia award from the Asian Athletics Association, said she decided in the last minute to drop Zohri from the 4x100 meter relay team and told him to focus on the sprint. 

"Zohri had a very packed schedule. I thought we should prioritize one event. We're very proud of him. We're banking on him to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics," Eni said.