26 June 2011The fifth National Grand Prix meet in China only had a handful of stars competing, but still a few records fell with some new names rising to the top level while some old ones came back, too. The two-day competition was held in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, on Saturday and Sunday (25-26) in warm weather and some windy conditions.
The best result of the competition came in the men’s 400m Hurdles, twice in fact on both Saturday and Sunday. Nineteen-year-old Cheng Wen, who became the first Chinese junior to dip under 50 seconds in the 2010 National Championships last August with a 49.89 result, was already the world junior leader with a 50.11 clocking in May. But the Shandong youngster took all this to another level in the heats on Saturday evening winning heat two in a 49.60 national junior record winning by a huge 3.98 second margin. In the final on Sunday morning Cheng proved it wasn’t a one time deal winning the race in another NJR and world junior leader 49.28, also moving to third place in the Chinese All-time list behind national record holder Meng Yan (49.03 in 2006), who was also in the race jogging to the finish line in 56.87 in eighth place (51.78 season’s best in the heats) and Tan Chunhua (49.25 in 1998).
But Cheng wasn’t the only athlete breaking records in the 400m Hurdles final, in second place 23-year-old Sichuan athlete Li Zhilong made a huge breakthrough finishing with a 49.58 personal best and lowering his previous best (50.92 in April 2011) by a massive 1.34 seconds. Li’s pre-2011 best was 51.11 from the 2010 National Champs and this result gives him the fifth place in the Chinese all-time list. In third place another junior, a visitor from Taiwan, Chen Chieh broke his own national junior record (50.17 in May 2011) in third place with a 50.14 result.
In the 400m final 18-year-old Zhang Huadong won with a fast 46.60 personal best, but there was even a faster time in the heats. Wang Weihai, 19, was just sixth in the final (47.45), but won his heat with a big personal best 46.39. Another junior Huang Xiang won the 200m to a strong -2.2 headwind in 20.81. In the 4x100m Relay Taiwan won in 39.30 with Hong Kong a close second in 39.46 and Fujian third in 39.49.
In other men’s events Chen Qi topped the javelin throw with a 78.09m toss and Zhang Jun threw 19.85m in the Shot Put equalling his season’s best result. Wu Bo won the Triple Jump with a 16.65m season’s best and three athletes went over eight metres in the Long Jump competition. Yu Zhenwei won with an 8.04m season’s best with Zhang Xiaoyi in second (8.03m) and 21-year-old Li Jinzhe in third with a season début of 8.02m. Jin Qichao equalled his personal best with a 2.24m win in the High Jump.
The best women’s result came in the triple jump where former Asian record holder Xie Limei (14.90m in 2007) returned to being number one jumper in China. Li Yanmei had jumped 14.35m in Shanghai Diamond League meeting with Xie well under 14 metres in the early season, but the 25-year-old has worked her way back and proved that with a 14.38m season’s best and win on Sunday evening. Gong Lijiao returned to domestic competition after a few meets in Europe with an easy 19.06m win in the Shot Put. Liu Xiangrong was second with an 18.36m result and 20-year-old Meng Qianqian set a personal best 18.09m getting over the 18-metre line for the first time during her career. Zheng Xingjuan continued good high jumping with a 1.93m win this time.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF
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