When Yoshihide Kiryu saw his record time of 9.98 seconds go up on the electronic scoreboard, he dashed over to his personal trainer, Tsutomu Goto, and hugged him.

Kiryu leapt with joy on Sept. 9 as he broke the invisible barrier, becoming the first Japanese to run the 100-meter sprint in under 10 seconds. Goto and Kiryu's other supporters at the intercollegiate meet in Fukui city shed tears at the historic feat.

"When things were not going as I wanted, those around me always encouraged me even as I cried," Kiryu said. "So I am very happy that today I am the one smiling, while those who have supported me are crying."

Kiryu, 21, has carried the hopes of Japanese track fans to post the first sub-10 second time since he ran the 100 meters in 10.01 seconds in 2013 when he was a high school senior.

Now, after 1,594 days of shouldering those expectations, Kiryu can finally breathe easier.

He set the new Japanese record after overcoming a huge disappointment earlier this year.

At the Japanese track and field championships in June, Kiryu finished fourth in the 100 behind Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, Shuhei Tada and Aska Cambridge. That meant Kiryu did not qualify as one of Japan's three representatives in the 100 meters at the world championships in London in August.

Kiryu could not believe he had missed out on making the team in the 100, and his mind was not on his training after the Japan championships.

But one day in July, Kiryu apparently put all that behind him. Even in the blistering heat, he ran 50-meter sprints for more than three hours.

While Kiryu did not compete in the 100 at London, he was part of the 400-meter relay team. During the 100 race, Kiryu watched from the stands while sitting next to Kenji Fujimitsu, who also was only chosen for the relay team.

Looking back on that time, Fujimitsu said, "I felt an unseen energy emanating from Kiryu as he sat next to me."

Kiryu helped the 400-meter relay team take the bronze medal, the first for a Japanese team at the world championships.

He hurt his left thigh during the relay and could not practice adequately for the intercollegiate meet. But Kiryu felt that if he failed again, failure would become a habit so he gutted it out on Sept. 9.

With about 120 athletes, mainly those with ethnic ties to African nations, having run the 100 in under 10 seconds, Kiryu realizes he has a lot of work ahead of him.

"I have finally reached the starting blocks on the world stage," Kiryu said. "I will continue training while not being satisfied with this time."

While he may have cried in frustration and lashed out at his coach when things were not going right, Kiryu could celebrate on Sept. 9 because he never abandoned his goal of becoming the first Japanese to cross the 100-meter finish line in under 10 seconds.