In a reversal of fortunes, Japan, whose women are known more for their endurance rather than sprinting power, took the women's 100m sprint on Day 3 (Monday 17) of the 12th Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Macau. But in turn China grabbed the men’s 100m an event at which Japan has been very strong in previous years.
Nao Okabe provided the shock of the day when she won the women’s 100m in 11.76, ahead of China’s Wang Yaqi (11.84). Another Japanese Ayaka Takeuchi was third in 12.03 secs.
But as China’s grip on the women’s sprinting was loosened, Liang Jiahong provided a boost for the fortunes of Chinese sprinting on the men’s side when he won the men’s dash in 10.32. Thailand’s Taweesak Pooltong was second in a time of 10.51, while Japan’s Takafumi Kumamoto had to settle for bronze in 10.57.
In another departure from a pattern witnessed for some time now in Asian meets, Japan managed to reassert dominance in the men’s 800m – an event which has recently witnessed the potential of countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. This time, though, Japan’s Masoto Yokota’s impressive kick enabled him to win in 1:51.34. Saudi Arabia's Al Deraan Ali Saad A (1:53.03) was second, while India's Joseph Sajeesh (1:53.36) was third.
Meanwhile, China continued its domination in many events. For example, in the women' 800m, Tong Xiaomei won with ease, clocking 2:08.10. She was followed by Japan's Kieko Shinada (2:09.70) and India's Jhuma Khatun (2:09.95).
In the Discus Throw, Tan Jian and Wang Bin achieved a one-two for China with their respective distances of 55.74m and 55.41m. Japan’s Narumi Ejima collected the bronze with her effort of 48.20m.
In the women’s Pole Vault, which only featured three contestants after Vietnam’s Tran Thi Lan did not start, another Chinese Zhang Yingning won with a height of 4.30m. Way behind her were Malaysia’s Noor Akma Abdul Fatah (3.40m) and India’s Ruchi Tewari (3m).
But the day wasn’t just about China and Japan. There was success for athletes from countries like Syria and Qatar. In the women's 400m Hurdles, Syria's Ghofrar Al Mouhmad ended strongly to win in 57.66, edging out China's pre-race favourites Chen Yumei (59.52) and Li Ling (1:00.34).
In the men's 400m Hurdles, Saudi Arabia achieved a fine one-two through the efforts of Shraheli Bandar Y.M (51.23) and Da'ak Mohammed Y.R (51.99) who won the gold and silver respectively. Japan's Junya Imai (52.02 secs), who was tipped as the likely winner, had to settle for the bronze.
In the day’s most exciting race in terms of intense rivalry, the men’s 10,000m, Mohammed Abdul Bakhet of Qatar won in 30:25.03, exactly the same time as Saudi Arabia's Ali Ahmed Al-Amri, who had already won the steeplechase at these championships. Qatar’s Naser Jamal Naser was third in 30:33.62.
In the women's Triple Jump, Kazakhstan's Anna Bondarenko won the gold with her distance of 13.18m. Her team mate Irina Litvinenko (13.03m) clinched the bronze, just behind silver medallist Tao Yujia (13.07m) of China.
In the men's High Jump, which attracted the crowd's attention because of the keen competition among the contestants, China's Huang Haiqiang emerged victorious in the end with his clearance of 2.20m. Thailand's Torlay Sudjanta (2.18m) was second, while Kazakhstan's Vitaliy Tsykunov (2.16m) was third.
Chua Chong Jin for the IAAF