Wen Yongyi of China shown at the 15th Asian Games at Khalifa Stadium in Doha (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright
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Chinese indoor season kicks off; two national records set

The Indoor season started in China weeks earlier than usual. Just two and a half months after the City Games, the first of three two-day indoor meets was held in Shanghai. The brightest Chinese stars, as usual in the national meets, were not present, but with many promising results and some records too it was a good start for the Olympic year in China.

MEN - National indoor 60m record for Wen Yongyi

21-year-old Wen Yongyi achieved the best result of the meet blazing to a 6.58sec national 60m record on Saturday afternoon breaking his own 6.59 record from 2007 by a hundredth of a second. Wen Yongyi, who seems to be a real 60m specialist, reached semi-finals at the 2006 World Indoor Championships in Moscow. He has set fast times in 60m for several years now with 6.61 in 2005, 6.62 in 2006 and 6.59 in 2007, but has failed to transfer that speed to 100m outdoors where his personal best is 10.28 in 2007. Jin Ke set a personal best finishing second behind Wen Yongyi in race one in 6.66 and Liang Jiahong won the second race in another PB 6.67 and Huang Minhua was second with a 6.69 PB as well. Wen Yongyi was fastest in heats winning heat 8 in a fast 6.62 result.

20-year-old Liu Xiaosheng, who set a fast personal best 45.79 sec outdoors last year as a junior, won the 400m in 47.22 and became the third fastest ever Chinese indoors. Wang Liangyu set the national record 46.08 winning the Asian Indoor Games in October 2007 and outdoor national record holder (45.25s in 2001) Xu Zizhou ran 46.66 in 1999.

Huang Hao was fastest over the 60m Hurdles in a 7.78 sec personal best winning race one in the absence of the fastest hurdlers Liu Xiang, Shi Dongpeng, Ji Wei and Xing Yanan. 17-year-old Xie Wenjun emerged as a new hurdle star and was fastest in the heats with a big 7.81 personal best and repeated the time in final finishing second in race one behind Huang Hao. 20-year-old Hong Xiaofeng was fastest in race two with a 7.85 PB.¨

2007 World Youth champion Wang Chen won the High Jump with a 2.15m indoor personal best, but 2005 World Youth and 2006 World Junior champion Huang Haiqiang has a lot to do if he wants to compete at the Beijing Olympics. The 19-year-old star could only clear two metres exactly, 32cm below his 2006 personal best.

Liu Feiliang sets Pole Vault national indoor record

The second national record of the meet was set on Sunday morning by Liu Feiliang, who took his indoor pole vault record back from Yang Quan. The 22-year-old is the clear number one vaulter in China, but lost his indoor NR last year to Yang (5.61m), who only reached 5.15m in this competition. Liu Feiliang cleared 5.62m here, 2cm more than his earlier indoor best 5.60m from 2006. Liu Feiliang has jumped 5.71m, the national record outdoors (2007). 2006 World Junior Championships silver medallist Yang Yansheng was second in the competition with a 5.35m result.

19-year-old Weng Yongfeng was the surprise winner in the men’s Long Jump with a 7.79m personal best before Su Xiongfeng, who also set PB 7.72m for second place. 18-year-old Zhang Xiaoyi, 8.03m last year indoors, finished in fourth place with a disappointing 7.67m result and another favourite Gao Hongwei could only manage 7.50m for 12th place. Gao jumped 8.04m outdoors last season.

In the Triple Jump, Li Yanxi won with a 16.84m result from 19-year-old Xie Zunpeng who finished an unexpected second place with a 16.30m personal best. Other top names Gu Junjie (16.25m), Wu Bo (16.21m) and Zhu Shujing (15.99m) were far from their best form. In the Shot Put top Chinese thrower Guo Yanxiang lost to Zhang Jun, who set a personal best 18.50m to win before Guo’s 18.16m result.

WOMEN – Junior indoor hurdles best

20-year-old Tao Yujia snapped 0.13 seconds off her earlier personal best when winning race one in the 60m with a 7.27 sec result. In the second race, 18-year-old Jiang Lan set a national indoor junior record winning in 7.30. Also the 60m hurdlers were in good form. Sun Yawei set a personal best 8.29 in race one just edging Zhang Rong, who clocked 8.31 for the second place. In race two, Wang Li set a national junior indoor record with a 8.27 run bettering her own 8.33 time from heats. Another junior Meng Yuan finished second in 8.40, her 8.36 personal best from 2007 was the previous junior record.

Zhou Yang took the win in the Pole Vault equalling her indoor personal best 4.20m. The 2006 World Junior champion won the 2007 City Games with a 4.40m PB result. Chen Yaling won a low key Long Jump competition with 6.41m and 18-year-old Xu Tingting set a personal best winning the Triple Jump with 13.95m.

Li Meiju started well in the Shot Put reaching 18.55m in the first meeting of the season, while 17-year-old Meng Qianqian set a big personal best of 16.81m for the second place.

The Chinese indoor action continues next Wednesday in Nanjing where the second leg of the indoor series is held 30-31 January.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF

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