29 APR 2012 General News

Standout field performances continue in China

Li Yanfeng of China wins the women's Discus Throw final (Getty Images)Li Yanfeng of China wins the women's Discus Throw final (Getty Images) © Copyright
Chinese continued their strong showing in the second leg of their national outdoor meeting series in Wuhan this weekend (28-29). Early results indicate that China has several medal prospects and could, excluding only the men’s Hammer Throw, end up having an athlete in the Olympic final in most field events – both men and women.

The best result of the weekend came again in the women's javelin throw. Lu Huihui, 22, set an Asian record 64.95m two weeks ago and was favourite again here, but finished second despite a good 63.57m result. 23-year-old Zhang Li is in top form again after a four years. Her previous best 62.09m came before the Beijing Olympics in 2008, where she finished in 10th place. On Saturday Zhang hit a big personal best 64.74m for the win adding a huge 2.65m to her 2008 result. The 2005 World Youth Champion has competed at a steady level of a bit below and over 60 metres since, but this mark now makes her a good pick for at least a top eight finish at the Olympics in London.

Daegu World Champion in discus, Li Yanfeng, continued well here winning with 65.85m season's best and the start to this season has easily been the best of her career. World Championships medallists Zhang Wenxiu (Hammer 72.31m) and Gong Lijiao (Shot Put) grabbed easy wins in their respective events with Gong reaching a 19.65m season's best.

Wang Huiqin won the women’s Triple Jump with a 14.16m personal best and Lu Minjia just beat Xu Xiaoling in the Long Jump their results being 6.48m and 6.47m respectively, both season's bests. Li Ling and junior Xu Huiqin were tied for the Pole Vault win at 4.30m, both SB.

Wu Shujiao won the 100m Hurdles in a 13.16 personal best and Xiao Huimin won a 5000/10,000m double (16:01.13/33:33.49). Berlin Marathon World champion Bai Xue competed in both events too, her first races following the disappointment of not qualifying for the Olympic marathon last month. Bai finished third in the 5000m in 16:01.96 and second in the 10,000m in 33:34.42.

Long jump breakthroughs - men’s events

In the men's events focus shifted from Triple Jump to the Long Jump. The Triple Jump duo of Dong Bin and Cao Shuo, who got very near the world top with 17.38m/17.35m two weeks ago, did not compete this time, but instead in the Long Jump two athletes got near the world lead. The 22-year-old Li Jinzhe, who jumped a 8.29m wind assisted mark at the 2010 Prefontaine Classic, won with a big personal best 8.25m. Li has some experience from major championships as he finished in 13th place in Berlin World Champs qualification in 2009 with the same result as 12th, 8.01m, only losing the place in the final with his second best jump. His previous wind legal best was from 2009 as well, 8.18m.

World University Games champion from last year, Su Xiongfeng, also made his way to the Olympics with an 8.21m personal best for second place. Su’s previous best was 8.19m from the 2011 Diamond League meet in Shanghai and he has jumped an 8.27 Asian indoor record in 2010.

2011 World Youth champion Lin Qing started well too with a 7.88m world youth leader, just four centimetres off the leading junior mark this season.

In the absence of the best two triple jumpers, Asian record holder (17.59m in 2009) Li Yanxi, started his season with a 16.84m win. Li has been hampered by injuries during the last few years, but finished in sixth place at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin and was 10th at the 2008 Olympics before the injury problems. Wang Guangfu won the Shot Put with a 19.44m personal best.

In the men's running events the best result came in the 200m where 18-year-old Xie Zhenye continued performing well with a 20.66 personal best for the win. Xie Wenjun won the 110m Hurdles in a 13.48 season's best with Ji Wei in second (13.57) followed by Jiang Fan in 13.61 and Shi Dongpeng 13.63, both season's bests. Li Zhilong became the first Chinese to dip under 50 seconds winning in 49.92 seasons best followed by Cheng Wen in 50.10, also a season’s best.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF

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