MacauChina, as expected, made its presence on the first day of the 12th Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Macau but countries like Japan and Qatar also had their fair share of success, adding a nice competitive touch to the action at the Macau Stadium on Saturday (15).
For the Chinese, their male athletes were particularly strong, winning most of the medals in the field events. In the Javelin Throw, Li Yu (74.93m) and Wang Qingbo (69.36m) took the gold and bronze respectively. Sandwiched between them with the silver was Taiwan's Chen Yu Wen (71.29m).
In the Pole Vault, another young Chinese star Yang Yansheng (5.30m) edged out the Japanese duo of Takafumi Suzuki (5.20m) and Junya Nagata (5.10m) who were second and third respectively.
India's Vij Sourab started as the firm favourite in the Shot Put. But China's Wang Like took the gold with his effort of 20.17m. Vij (19.62m) had to settle for the silver while Kuwait's Mohammad Mashari (19.60m) clinched the bronze.
In the Hammer Throw, China's Wang Yong collected the gold with his effort of 71.66m. The silver medal went to his team mate Zhou Heng (68.66m), while the bronze was won by Iran's Moghadam Mohsen (67m).
The Chinese domination in the men's events was broken in the 5000m. Here, the contest was keen, giving the appreciative crowd something to get all excited about. In the end, Qatar proved too strong, with Malek Salem Sae (14:29.65) and Naser Naser Jam (14:32.79) winning the gold and bonze respectively. The silver went to Bakheet Saleh (14:30.97) of Bahrain.
For a change, the Chinese women had a quiet start. In the women's Long Jump, Uzbekistan's Alexandra Kotlyarova won with her distance of 6.02m. Japan's Hitomi Nakano (5.94m) was second followed by Jordan's Taha Rima (5.92m).
The best race of the day was the women's 3000m. Keeping close to each other throughout the whole race were Japan's Mio Fukahori and Kazue Kojima, North Korea's Kim Jong Hyang and Bahrain's Kareema Jassim.
The girls were together even at the home stretch. In the end, Fukahori (9:30.5) just pipped the others for the gold. Team mate Kojima (9:30.6) was second while Jong Hyang (9:30.7) was third. Jassim (9:30.9) just missed out on a medal but won applause for her valiant performance.
In the coming days, one can expect the Chinese to continue their strong showing. In the decathlon, for instance, Zhu Hengjun showed good form on Day 1. His performances in events like the Long Jump (7.39m), 100m (10.87 secs) and Shot Put (13.42m) were commendable. Other athletes to look out for in the next few days based on today's heats and semi-finals include Japan's Yuzo Kanemaru in the men's 200m, Iran's Reza Bouazar in the men's 400m and China's Li Xueji in the women's 400m.
Chua Chong Jin for the IAAF
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