|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|
|2008||39:47.20||Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak)||11 JUL|
|2016||40:30||Rio de Janeiro (Pontal)||12 AUG|
|2015||39:26||La Coruña||06 JUN|
|2015||1:18:44||La Coruña||06 JUN|
|2013||1:21:09||Moskva (Luzhniki)||11 AUG|
|2010||1:21:59||Rio Maior||10 APR|
|12th IAAF World Junior Championships||2||39:47.20||Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak)||11 JUL 2008|
|23rd IAAF World Race Walking Cup||2||40:12||Cheboksary||10 MAY 2008|
|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|
Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.
Created 10 July 2016
CHEN Ding, China (20km Race Walk)
Born: 5 August 1992, Baoshan, China
Training camps: Shenzhen and Changbai Mountains
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.
10,000 Race Walk: 39:47.20 AJR WYR (2008)
10km Race Walk: 38:23(2010)
20km Race Walk: 1:17:40 (2012)
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
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