Ding Chen

Athlete Profile

  • COUNTRY
    Pr Of China Pr Of China
  • DATE OF BIRTH
    05 AUG 1992
Chen Ding of China celebrates as he wins gold in the 20km Race Walk at the London 2012 Olympics (Getty Images)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
10,000 Metres Race Walk 39:47.20 Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak) 11 JUL 2008
10 Kilometres Race Walk 38:23 Beijing 18 SEP 2010
20 Kilometres Race Walk 1:17:40 Taicang 30 MAR 2012

Progression - Outdoor

10,000 Metres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2012 40:04.04 Tianjin 16 SEP
2008 39:47.20 Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak) 11 JUL

10 Kilometres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2016 40:30 Rio de Janeiro (Pontal) 12 AUG
2015 39:26 La Coruña 06 JUN
2012 39:51 Ordos 14 SEP
2011 40:02 Lugano 20 MAR
2010 38:23 Beijing 18 SEP
2009 40:30 Huhehaote 19 JUN
2008 40:12 Cheboksary 10 MAY

20 Kilometres Race Walk

Performance Place Date
2017 1:23:02 Tianjin 03 SEP
2016 1:19:32 Huangshan 05 MAR
2015 1:18:44 La Coruña 06 JUN
2014 1:20:28 Taicang 04 MAY
2013 1:21:09 Moskva (Luzhniki) 11 AUG
2012 1:17:40 Taicang 30 MAR
2011 1:18:52 Taicang 22 APR
2010 1:21:59 Rio Maior 10 APR
2008 1:20:16 Zhengzhou 14 MAR

Honours - 10,000 Metres Race Walk

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
12th IAAF World Junior Championships 2 39:47.20 Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak) 11 JUL 2008

Honours - 10 Kilometres Race Walk

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
23rd IAAF World Race Walking Cup 2 40:12 Cheboksary 10 MAY 2008

Honours - 20 Kilometres Race Walk

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXXI Olympic Games 39 1:23:54 Rio de Janeiro (Pontal) 12 AUG 2016
IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships f DNF Roma 07 MAY 2016
15th IAAF World Championships 9 1:21:39 Beijing (National Stadium) 23 AUG 2015
IAAF World Race Walking Cup 2014 15 1:20:28 Taicang 04 MAY 2014
14th IAAF World Championships 2 1:21:09 Moskva (Luzhniki) 11 AUG 2013
The XXX Olympic Games 1 1:18:46 London (The Mall) 04 AUG 2012
IAAF World Race Walking Cup 2012 7 1:21:05 Saransk 12 MAY 2012
24th IAAF World Race Walking Cup 5 1:23:49 Chihuahua 16 MAY 2010

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Created 10 July 2016

  

CHEN Ding, China (20km Race Walk)

 

Born: 5 August 1992, Baoshan, China

Lives: Beijing               

Training camps: Shenzhen and Changbai Mountains

1.80m/62kg

Coach: Sun Li’an   

 

 Chen Ding is a man born for the big moment.

 With only one day to go before his twentieth birthday, the Chinese race walker surprised a strong field to notch the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

 

It was his debut on the Olympic arena and the first time for him to win at an international event. In fact, he had never taken a victory in national senior level before his journey to London. Even when he set his personal best time of 1:17:40 in March 2012, he was the runner-up behind his national teammate Wang Zhen.

 

However, the first win of his career just came at the right time.

 “Competing in the Olympic Games is something I had yearned after for years. It is a sacred competition, that I only heard of from radio and watched on TV when I was just a kid,” he said. “So when I actually became an Olympian, I was so excited. I knew I had prepared very hard for it, but I had never thought of winning the gold medal in London.”

 

Chen improved the previous Olympic record of walking great Robert Korzeniowski, and became the youngest ever gold medallist in the walks.

It was the first Olympic gold medal won by a Chinese male walker and also the second Olympic gold won by a Chinese male track and field athlete following the country's hurdling star Liu Xiang who claimed title at 2004 Athens Games.

 

When he crossing the finish, Chen stretched up his arms to point to the sky, with Buckingham Palace as the background. That scene has been considered as a highlight moment of Chinese athletics, which is often shown on TV or on the front page of sports magazines.

 

Chen Ding was born in a poor family in the rural area of China’s Yunnan Province. He started to train in race walk in 2001 just in order to ease some economic burden from his parents since the sports school in Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan, offered three meals every day.

 “Back then I had never expected him to win any medal. I just wanted him to go to the big city, find a job someday and live a better life,” said his father Chen Baofan.

 

But things did not go smoothly at first. After several years of training, Chen was plagued with a haunting waist injury. In 2005, he was refused by the provincial team because the coaches there believed the injury would damage his future career. He tried to apply to a college in Beijing later but was once again rejected.

 

When he was about to give up his career, he met his current coach Sun Li’an in 2007, who found the hidden quality in him and decided to bring him to Shenzhen, one of the most prosperous city in China.

 

In Shenzhen, Chen started a new chapter. After his injury was controlled, Chen witnessed rapid progress. He finished second in the 10km event at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Cheboksary in May 2008 and grabbed a 10,000m silver medal at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz two months later. At the end of that year, he was first selected into the national senior training team as a promising star.

Chen Ding bagged the youth’s 10km gold medal at the 2009 National Race Walk Championships in 40:30 and claimed the junior’s 20km title at the 2011 National Race Walk Championships in Baoji.

 

In 2011, he clocked a PB of 1:18:52 to finish third at the IAAF Race Walking Challenge in Taicang and improved it to 1:17:40 the next year to take the second place in the same competition, where both Chen and the winner Wang Zhen beat the Asian record of 1:17:41 set by countryman Zhu Hongjun in 2005.

 

Before the Olympics in London, Sun had great confidence in his student. He predicted Chen could earn a podium finish and the only problem was how high the podium would be. And Chen did not disappoint his coach.

“Before the Olympic Games I was not very confident about myself. But that gold medal changes everything,” Chen said.

 

The gold medal has brought not only fame and glory, but also high media exposure to Chen. His inspirational career and personal life also became heat topics in the media. He likes to sing and play guitar in his spare time and in the celebrating gala back in his hometown after the Olympic Games, he sang two songs - “Father” and “Kiss of my mother” to show his gratitude to his parents.

 

During the 2013 Chinese sports award ceremony, as the winner of Newcomer of the Year, Chen was even asked to sing a song together with the country’s female pop star Jike Junyi.

However, after his shining moment in London. Chen experienced another low curve of his career. His waist injury recurred and forced him to withdraw from the National Games in 2013. Although Chen collected a silver at the 2013 World Championships, he has never reached the top three in any major international events ever since.

 

In 2014 he only finished 15th at the World Race Walking Cup in Taicang and one year later he disappointed the home crowd again as he settled for a distant 9th finish at the World Championships in Beijing.

At the Olympic trials in March Chen Ding finished second to book a ticket for the Olympic Games in Rio. After passing the finish, the emotional Chen burst into tears.

“I have experienced a lot since 2012. And I remember every step deep in my heart,” he said. “In these four years I worked very hard. It was never easy for me, or for my coach.”

“I was very nervous these days because I was afraid that I would lose the chance. I know I am not in my best shape but luckily I stuck to it and took the second place.”

 

He also participated in the World Race Walking Team Championships in Rome in May, but failed to finish the race.

After that competition, Chen, together with his trusted coach Sun, returned to his training camp in the Changbai mountains, preparing for the coming Olympics in August, and preparing to stand up for another big moment.

 

Personal Best

10,000 Race Walk: 39:47.20 AJR WYR (2008)

10km Race Walk:    38:23(2010)

20km Race Walk:    1:17:40 (2012)

 

Yearly Progression

10,000m Race Walk:: 2008: 39:47.20; 2009: -; 2010: -; 2011: -; 2012: 40:04.04; 2013: -; 2014: -; 2015: -; 2016: -;

10km Race Walk: 2008: 40:12; 2009: 40.30; 2010: 38:23; 2011: 40:02; 2012: 39:51; 2015: 39:26; 2016: -;

20km Race Walk: 2008: 1:20:16; 2009: 1:21:21, 2010: 1:21:59; 2011: 1:18:52; 2012: 1:17:40; 2013: 1:21:09; 2014: 1:20:28; 2015: 1:18:44; 2016: 1:19:32

 

Career Highlights

2008    2nd        National Championships (Zhengzhou)                                    1:20:16

2008    2nd        IAAF World Race Walking Cup (Cheboksary) (10 km)                 40:12

2008   2nd         IAAF World Junior Championships (Bydgoszcz , 10,000m)      39:47.20

2009    1st         National Youth Championships (Baoji) (10 km)                         40:56

2009   1st           National Race Walk Championships (Hohhot, 10km)                 40:30

2009    4th          East Asian Games (Hong Kong)                                            1:28:04

2010   5th          IAAF World Race Walking Cup (Chihuahua)                             1:23:49

2011    1st         National Junior Championships (Baoji)                                    1:21:48

2012   7th          IAAF World Race Walking Cup (Saransk)                                 1:21:05

2012   1st          Olympic Games (London)                                                      1:18:46

2013   2nd          World Championships (Moscow)                                            1:21:09

2014   15th        IAAF World Race Walking Cup (Taicang)                                  1:20:28

2015   9th         World Championships (Beijing)                                                1:21:39

2016   DNF        IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships (Rome)     

  

Prepared by Vincent WU for the IAAF “Focus on Athletes” project. Copyright IAAF 2016

 

 

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