Extremely hot weather with temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius overshadowed the last day of the men's national championships in Shijiazhuang, China (21 June).
Naturally distance running was affected by the hot conditions, but in other events many young athletes took big strides towards international level.
Zhang Shibao grabs the 400m Hurdles title
21-year-old Zhang Shibao, was regarded as a super promising 400m hurdler after he finished second in the 2001 National Games recording a National Youth Record of 50.33 at the age of 17. In 2002 he was able to improve to National Junior Record of 50.07, but after that his progression went backwards. That was until these championships, his performance in the semi-final was not spectacular, a season's best of 50.82, but in the final he became the fourth fastest Chinese all-time clocking a 49.69 winning mark.
National Record holder Tan Chunhua, who had big troubles in the early season twice finishing a race with a time over 53 seconds, was now able to come back to his own level and took second place at 50.06. Tan's 49.25 NR has stood since 1998, but in the 2005 National Games it will be moving to history because of the good competition in this event in China this season.
Zhang Shufeng wins the High Jump
19-year-old Zhang Shufeng won the High Jump with a personal best of 2.27m, but was given a good competition by 17-year-old National Youth Champion Huang Haiqiang (b. 8 Feb 1988), who was second with another personal best of 2.24m. Huang, who jumped 2.21m last year as a 16-year-old, is now only 1cm below the national youth record of 2.25m, held by former World record holder Zhu Jianhua. Zhu set the record back in 1980 and it had stood exactly 25 years yesterday and is the oldest youth record in China. Huang will surely be the favourite in the World Youth Championships later this summer.
Gu Junjie beaten in the Triple Jump
Favourite Gu Junjie, who jumped the Asian junior record of 17.23m last season and also set the national indoor record of 16.96m earlier this season. 20-year-old Zhang Shujing won the competition with a season's best of 16.78m, just below his personal best 16.83m which he jumped last season.
19-year-old Lin Mujie was second with 16.71m and Gu Junjie third with a wind assisted 16.64m. The best Chinese triple jumper in 2005, Li Yanxi, skipped these national championships having already qualified for the National Games. Li set a personal best in the Prefontaine meeting in Eugene earlier this month by 17.15m second place finish.
Wu Tao in good Discus Throw form
2002 World Junior Champion and former World Junior record holder (64.51m) with the 1.75kg discus, Wu Tao, is easily the best Discus thrower in China today. He set a personal best of 64.28m in May and took another win in the championships unleashing a 62.65m throw. Wu was the only thrower over the 60m line in the competition with other favourites struggling.
36-year-old veteran Zhang Cunbiao threw a season's best of 59.45m for second place and Asian record holder (65.16m in 1996), Li Shaojie, was third with 57.71m. Li is the reigning National Games champion from 2001, but has a lot to do if he wants to retain his title in October.
Twins in command of the steeplechase
Identical twins Sun Wenyong and Sun Wenli took the first two places of the 3000m Steeplechase final. Wenyong, who has been the second best until last year, took the win this time before his brother Wenli. Times in the hot weather, 8:46.55 and 8:47.95 respectively were not very fast in the race which was decided in the final sprint.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF
200 m (-1.7): Liu Haitao 20.98; 2 Chen Huaming 21.26; 3 Wang Chengliang 21.35.
800 m: Li Guangming 1:49.27; 2 Tang Baojun 1:49.70; 3 Zeng Xiandong 1:50.26.
10000 m: Zhang Yunshan 30:10.49; 2 Ren Longyun 30:18.14; 3 Gong Ke 30:23.98.
3000 m steeple: Sun Wenyong 8:46.55; 2 Sun Wenli 8:47.95; 3 Shi Linzhong 8:48.63.
400 m hurdles: Zhang Shibao 49.69; 2 Tan Chunhua 50.06; 3 Qian Chunbo 50.42.
High jump: Zhang Shufeng 2.27; 2 Huang Haiqiang (88) 2.24; 3 Li Bing 2.20.
Triple jump: Zhu Shujing 16.78/+0.8; 2 Lin Mujie 16.71/+1.0; 3 Gu Junjie 16.64w/+2.1.
Discus: Wu Tao 62.65; 2 Zhang Cunbiao 59.45; 3 Li Shaojie 57.71.
Javelin: Chen Qi 79.31; 2 Lin Dong 76.66; 3 Sun Shipeng 75.29.
4x100 m: Guangxi 39.24.
4x400 m: 1 Guangdong 3:05.39.