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  29 Jan 2022, 09:47

'Resilient' Coleman returns from ban at Millrose Games

 NEW YORK, Jan 29, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - World 100 meters champion Christian
Coleman makes his return to athletics after a two-year absence on Saturday,
determined to "have fun" after the anti-doping suspension that forced him to
miss last year's Olympic Games.

   The 25-year-old sprinter heads a star-studded field at the Millrose Games
indoor meet in New York, where he will race in a high quality 60m that also
includes world 200m champion Noah Lyles.

   It is the first major event Coleman has raced since February 2020, and his
first appearance since serving an 18-month suspension for breaching anti-
doping whereabouts rules.

   Coleman, who in all probability would have been the favorite for the 100m
at the Tokyo Olympics last year had it not been for his suspension, says he
is grateful to be finally getting his career back on track this weekend.

   "I feel like I learned a lot about myself," he told AFP on Friday when
asked about his absence from competition.

   "I feel like I learned a lot about life in general, you know, what's the
most important things in life. I learned how to separate me as a person from
me on the track, and how resilient I am.

   "I'm just proud of myself for getting back to this point and grateful to
be here and to compete going forward. I'm looking forward to the next few
years, it's going to be pretty exciting."

   In addition to his world 100m crown, Coleman is also the reigning world
indoor 60m champion after winning gold at the 2018 World Championships in
Birmingham.

   He also holds the world record over the distance of 6.34sec, though
Coleman said Friday he is not targeting times this weekend.

   "I try not to focus on times," he said. "I don't want to be disappointed
if I don't run a certain time.

   "I just want to get out there and compete and try to win... You get out
there and compete and when you're a competitor the times come with it."

   - 'No pressure' -

   Coleman, who is hoping to compete at this year's world indoor
championships in Belgrade in March before defending his title at the outdoor
world championships, taking place in Eugene, Oregon in July, says he has been
encouraged by times clocked in training.

   "We just started to do more speed training, like a month or so," he said.
"I've got some good momentum coming into this meet. I feel pretty good. "I've
been hitting some good times in practice. So I'm excited to get out there and
compete again and see where I end up... have some fun and see what the clock
says."

   While his presence in the field in New York this weekend will make him the
center of attention, Coleman says he does not feel any additional pressure on
his return.

   "I definitely want to win as a competitor," Coleman said. "That's what
track and field is about. You want to get to that line first. But I don't
necessarily feel any pressure.

   "This is the fun part. You put in all the work in the off-season and then
you get a chance to compete. Just go and have fun with it and see what
happens."

   As well as 200m world champion Lyles, Saturday's 60m line-up also includes
Trayvon Bromell, the 2016 60m world champion and the fastest man in the world
over 100m last year with a personal best of 9.76sec.

   Lyles, meanwhile, is looking forward to competing in front of fans this
weekend after the disappointment of performing in an empty arena at last
year's pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics.

   "It was just dead silent in that stadium," Lyles said Friday of his
Olympic experience.

   "All I could think of was 'Wow, this is my first Olympics and I can't even
have a crowd.' They would barely even let athletes come to watch their
teammates. It was a bummer."

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