The Chinese women, keeping an unexpectedly low profile on Day One of the 12th Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Macau, made their presence felt on the second day (Sun 16) of the competition with some impressive wins in Macau stadium.
However, the standout performance of the day came from Uzbekistan's Svetlana Radzivil in the women's High Jump. She leapt 1.90m to take the gold medal and break the championship record improving Tatyana Efimenko’s mark of 1.88m set in 1999.
"My target is World Juniors at Beijing next month,” said the winner.
Her team mate Nadiya Dusanova (1.84m) took the bronze, just behind Kazakhstan's Yekaterina Yevseyeva (1.88m) who won the silver.
Giving China a fine start, Li Cui (49:28.11) and Chai Xue (49:28.45) won the gold and silver respectively in the women's 10,000m Race Walk. Japan's Fumika Kiryu (50:08.14) had to settle for the bronze.
Not to be outdone, Li Xueji and Chen Cuiyu also gave China a one-two finish in the women's 400m. They clocked 53.43 and 54.80 respectively, ahead of Uzbekistan's Irina Zudikhina who finished third with a time of 55.72.
Continung the one-two pattern for China were Zhu Jingya and Zhang Ying who won the gold and silver respectively in the women's Javelin Throw. Jinya achieved a distance of 55.54m while Zhang Ying managed 55.14m. Coming in third was Japan's Momoko Matsumoto with her effort of 53.19m.
There was further success for the Chinese women when Chen Jue (24.19 secs) clinched the gold in the 200m. She was followed home by Syria's Ghofran Al Mouhmad (24.45 secs) and Thailand's Kunya Harnthong (24.74 secs)
If the Chinese women could be stopped, it would have to come in a long distance race, and that was exactly what happened in the 5000m. Here, Japan's Nami Matsuda and Bahrain's Kareema Jassim engaged in a thrilling exchange of the lead till the last two laps. From then on, Matsuda proved far too strong as she stormed home in 16:10.95. Jassim (16:24.28), who just missed out on a medal in the 3000m on Day 1, had the consolation of winning the silver this time with her brave effort.
Finishing a distant third was North Korea's Kim Jong Hyang (16:49.86), with China's Sun Qian (17:48.53) fourth, a somewhat unusual position for the Chinese women, given their overwhelming domination of many events on Day 2.
The Chinese men, who had a great start with impressive wins on Day 1 were overshadowed by their female counterparts, and nations like Omar and Saudi Arabia seized the opportunity to bask in the limelight.
In the men's 3000m Steeplechase, for example, Saudia Arabia's Ali Ahmed Al-Amri won the gold in a time of 8:42.94. Qatar's Kamal Ali Thamer (8:43.09) and Saad Salem Malek (8:57.86) clinched the silver and bronze respectively.
Oman had a superb day on the track, with Abdullah Said Al-Sawali providing what was arguably the biggest upset of the competition when he won the men's 200m in 21.44. His team mate Mohammed Alrawahi was second in 21.58, while China's Liu Xiongwei was third in 21.78. Pre-race favourite Yuzo Kanemura of Japan could only manage fifth with his effort of 21.95 secs.
In the men's 400m, Alrawahi gave Oman plenty to cheer about when he took the gold in a time of 47.40. Iran's Reza Bouazar (47.57 secs) and Japan's Mitsuhiro Abiko (47.83) collected the silver and bronze respectively.
Still, it wasn't as though the Chinese men were completely shut out from the top spot on the podium. Zhang Xioyi reasserted his team's overall dominance when he won the Long Jump with his effort of 7.78m. The silver and bronze medals went to Japan's Noriyuki Sakurai (7.62m) and Iran's Arzandeh Mohd (7.59m) respectively.
In the Decathlon, China took home the gold through Zhu Hengjun (7316pts). Taiwan tasted success with Liao Shu Chien winning the silver (6808). The bronze went to Saudi Arabia's Mohammed J.M. l Qaree (6564).
In the coming days, more action awaits fans at Macau Stadium. Going by the semi-final results, one of the most anticipated races will be the men's 400m hurdles. Saudia Arabia's Shraheli Bandar Y.M leads the pack with her time of 52.39 secs. He is expected to face stiff competition from team mate Da'ak Mohammed (52.80 secs) and Japan's Daisuke Kimura (52.62 secs).
Chua Chong Jin for the IAAF
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