Just days after China had confirmed a big team for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona (10-15 July) in the preliminary entries, the junior athletes of the country underlined their medal chances at the National Junior Championships in Changzhou during the weekend.
Several world junior leads were achieved and not surprisingly the strongest results came in the women’s throwing events. Gu Siyu came up with the best result of the meet in the Discus Throw winning with a rare junior 60-metre throw, a 60.59m world junior leader adding more than four metres to her previous personal best. Wang Lan was second with a 55.72m PB and Feng Bin third with 55.62m. Another world junior lead was achieved in the javelin with Shandong athlete Liu Shiying winning with a 57.52m throw, a personal best.
In the Shot Put the best junior in the world, Guo Tianqian (17.10m this season), could not compete in the junior champs, because she is a youth athlete. But the Chinese naturally have more young throwers coming up and Gao Yang won with a 16.81m PB with Bian Ka a close second with 16.60m, also a personal best. In the hammer the best Chinese thrower Zhang Li, who won the bronze medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships, did not compete. Zhang is second in the 2012 world junior list having thrown 65.09m this season. Luo Nuo won this event with a 62.79m result.
Further world junior lead was achieved in the high jump, where Ye Jiaying improved to 1.88m personal best. Ye jumped 1.84m already three years ago aged 16 and made the final at the 2011 World University Games.
A 4.40m pole vaulter last year, Xu Huiqin opened her outdoor campaign with a 4.15m win for her second successive national junior title. In the Triple Jump Chen Mudan moved to second place in the world junior list with a 13.55m winning result into headwind.
In the women’s running events Li Zhixuan won the 3000m in 9:24.16 and Li Jiayi was fastest in the 3000m Steeplechase in 10:19.78. On the men’s side Li Meng booked another ticket for the World Junior Championships with his second successive national junior title. Li won with a 20.06m result and has thrown a 20.63m Asian junior record in October 2011. In 2010 he placed fifth in Moncton at World Juniors at the age of 17. Li Jun retained his second place from last season’s national junior champs setting a 19.95m personal best. 18-year-old Fu Haitao won the Triple Jump with a 16.20m outdoor opener and will be looking for a medal in Barcelona. He has jumped 16.56m personal best in October 2011.
Huang Haibing won the Long Jump with a 7.76m personal best and 18-year-old Zhang Wei equalled his outdoor best 5.30m winning the Pole Vault. Zhang will also be a medal favourite as he has already cleared 5.45m this season indoors.
A 49.87 400m hurdler last season, Xu Xiangchao grabbed an easy win in his event in 51.87 and Chu Pengfei won the 110m Hurdles for a second time in a row. His 13.57 world junior leader missed personal best from last year by a mere 0.01 seconds. Lei Yiwen was second in 13.69, his best his from last year as well, 13.57.
In the 800m Teng Haining’s winning result 1:50.84 doesn’t mean much, but the Liaoning athlete will be looking for a place in the final in Barcelona. Last year he took the second place at the World University Games with a fast 1:46.62 national junior record. Teng also has a 3:42.05 personal best in the 1500m and will probably run that distance too in Barcelona.
Xie Zhenye, 18, is also looking for a place in the final at the World Junior Championships in both 100m and 200m distances. Xie won both events with ease in this meet clocking a 10.45 season’s best in the 100m and a fast 20.77 personal best in the 200m. 100m PB is 10.36 from last season. Wang Qingling won the women’s Heptathlon with a 5668 personal best taking the third spot in the world junior list.
The Chinese World Junior Championships team will surely include a few youth stars as well in addition to those mentioned here. The best youth athletes in China include 56.50m women’s discus thrower from this year, Liang Yan, the silver medallist from the 2011 World Youth Championships. Earlier mentioned shot putter Guo Tianqian, the 2011 World Youth Champion is also the world junior leader in shot put with 17.10m and in the men’s long jump Lin Qing, also a 2011 World Youth Champion and 7.95m jumper last season at the age of 16, will start his outdoor season next weekend. In the men’s Decathlon just 15-year-old Wang Jianan has already scored 7063 with senior implements, including big personal bests 7.80m in the Long Jump and 5.00m in the Pole Vault and of course race walkers will be top quality too.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF