Through Twitter, 100-meter world champion Kim Collins (@kimcollins100m) introduces himself this way, “11-time world championship entrant indoor and outdoor with 7 medals. 5 Olympic games and I.A.A.F level 2 Coach.”
Official statistics is just bare language of facts but sometimes it could be merciless. In case of Kim Collins, it says that experienced sprinter from Saint Kitts and Nevis is not only the oldest male participant at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016, but also the oldest men competitor ever at the WICs.
On Friday, March 19, 2016 (the day of all three races in the Oregon Convention Center) Collins was aged 39 years 348 days. He clearly beat previous track long-liver Bernard Lagat from the U.S. who competed while aged 39 years and 87 days two years ago in Sopot 2014.
Unlike Lagat, who managed to get the silver medal at 3000 meters, Collins finished eighth in the 60-meter final in Portland. But to keep world-level speed as a man about to enter his forties is much more difficult than to increase endurance in this age.
“I have been in track and field for so long that your body remembers. Therefore, once I get fit, the body will be able to race. I tell the young athletes who want to get fast before they get fit that once you get fit first, it is easier for your body to last as long as mine has in the sport.”
“I will be honest; I don’t follow our sport and the past champions. I have never come as a favourite and I love it. I come in, try to move through the rounds, make my way to the finals and the podium.”
There are many doubts that these words would be understood clearly by Shinebayar Damdinchimeg, a young Mongolian sprinter, who had his career global-athletics debut here in Portland. Even if he finished last in his heat, Shinebayar, the youngest male competitor at these championships, aged 17 years and 336 days, clocked 7.02 and set a National Indoor record for his home country.
“I’m the one Mongolian athlete in Portland and I’m so proud to represent my country at global event, said Damdinchimeg. “I never competed indoors before and I’m here to take some experience for future. Certainly, it was clear that I will not manage to reach the semi-final but I aimed to clock under 7 sec. Unfortunately, I was sleeping in the blocks and slow in my start. At least I learned a lot by looking around to my experienced rivals as I have not such ability training permanently in Mongolia. Now I’m looking forward to continuing in athletics and to improve my results as much and as soon as possible,” said the Mongolian 100m champion. Even though he only knows his native tongue, he was so kind and patient to make a conversation in pictures for this interview.