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News04 Apr 2016

Kiryu and Sani Brown will clash for first time in Kawasaki


Japanese sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu (© Getty Images)

At the Golden Grand Prix next month, Japan’s two most prodigious sprinters will face each other for the first time as Yoshihide Kiryu and Abdul Hakim Sani Brown compete over 100m at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Kawasaki on 8 May.

World junior bronze medallist Kiryu set a world U18 best of 10.19 over 100m in 2012 before improving to an Asian U20 record of 10.05 in 2014. He opened his 2015 season with a wind-assisted 9.87 in Texas but had to miss the peak of the summer season through injury.

The 20-year-old returned to form at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 last month, setting a 60m PB of 6.56 to miss out on a place in the final by just 0.01.

Sani Brown was one of the stars of the IAAF World Youth Championships Cali 2015. Aged just 16 at the time, he won the sprint double and set championship records in both events, clocking 10.28 and 20.34.

He went on to compete at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, where he finished fifth in his 200m semifinal. At the end of last year, he was named the male IAAF rising star of 2015.

Still a youth athlete for the whole of 2016, Sani Brown will this season be aiming to break Kiryu’s world U18 best over 100m and Usain Bolt’s world U18 best of 20.13 over 200m.

But aside from their head-to-head battle in Kawasaki, they will face tough opposition from a field that includes two former 100m winners at this meeting.

World silver medallist Justin Gatlin, a winner at this meeting in 2014 when it was held in Tokyo, will be looking for another victory at the Golden Grand Prix. Meanwhile Chinese record-holder Su Bingtian, who won in Kawasaki in 2012, is fresh from an Asian indoor 60m record of 6.50 in Portland.

Organisers of the Golden Grand Prix have also announced the Japanese athletes set to compete in all the other events in Kawasaki next month.

Sprinters Kenji Fujimitsu and Kei Takase, who ran 20.13 and 20.14 respectively last year, will contest the 200m while Asian champion and national record-holder Chisato Fukushima will compete in the 100m, her specialist event.