Wenxiu Zhang of China celebrates her bronze medal in the Women's Hammer Throw Final (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Chinese Olympic Trials start quietly in rain - Day One

27 June 2008The first day of the Chinese Olympic Trials in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, started in rain soaked conditions. The meet, originally scheduled to be held in Chongqing, located in the middle of the earthquake rattled province of Sichuan (but not part of Sichuan), was moved to Suzhou quickly after the earthquake. Weather did prove to be difficult for the athletes to handle although it was quite warm, above 20 degrees Celsius.

The First day of the three-day meet was a rather low-key one with no new A-standards and therefore no additional athletes on the Olympic team. The athletics team was nominated earlier this season with only a few events with full three A-standard athletes or more. Many of the top athletes who have achieved the A-standard before this meet and have been chosen to the Olympic team don’t have to compete here and therefore some events like the men’s 110m Hurdles are very weak in this meet.

The biggest interest of the first day was in the women’s 5000m race, but it proved a very uneventful race indeed. The pace was good enough for jogging and there were no surprises in the end. 18-year-old Xue Fei, the fastest Chinese last year with a 15:02.73 personal best, easily grabbed the win in 16:19.43 leading a Jiangsu province sweep in the event.

Another 18-year-old Hao Xiaofan was second in 16:19.65 with Zhu Yingying finishing in third place clocking 16:21.36. Xie Fang, one of the athletes with the A-standard in the event finishing in a disappoint 12th place (16:33.08) and Sun Yingjie’s comeback hasn’t really worked out. Sun finished in 17th place in 17:10.93.

After the race the former Half Marathon World champion and World Championships bronze medallist in 10,000m said that by no means is her career over and that she will be back for the 10,000m race here. She also said that after she was dropped out of the leading pack early in the race she wanted to save energy for the 10,000m and that she will surely continue her career to compete in the 2009 National Games.

Xue Fei will surely be one of the three athletes in the 5000m in Beijing. He Pan, who also has the A-standard, finished 6th today in 16:22.81 and might be the second athlete on the team. 18-year-old Zhang Yingying, who will not take part to the 10,000m either here, will probably concentrate on the 10,000m in Beijing and that would leave the third spot on the team to Xie Fang.

The men’s 5000m race was won by 19-year-old Zhao Bing in 14:13.76 before Lin Xiangqian’s 14:29.75. Of course there will be no Chinese men in the 5000m in Beijing.

The best result of the first day was 72.11m winning mark by Osaka World Championships bronze medallist Zhang Wenxiu in the women’s hammer. Wang Zheng was second with a 68.44m throw and will join Zhang in Beijing hammer’s competition. Liu Yinghui did not get the result in the competition today, but could be the third Chinese in this event at the Olympics (69.56m last year).

In the men’s hammer 23-year-old Zhao Yihai added well more than a metre to his personal best to win with a 72.19m throw. Ma Liang was second with 71.72m result.

The men’s pole vault final was totally ruined by the rain. 19-year-old Zhou Bo won the competition with a 5.15m personal best with Yang Yangsheng getting the second place with the same result. National record holder (5.71m in 2007) Liu Feiliang will be the only Chinese pole vaulter in Beijing.

Only 15-year-old Lu Minjia (born 27 December 1992) emerged as the winner in the women’s long jump with a big 6.44m personal best bettering her previous best by 22cm. There will be no women’s long jumpers from China in Beijing.

In the women’s shot put Liu Xiangrong won with a 18.93m toss, but she will be the reserve competitors in Beijing. She has set a 18.69m personal best this season, but Chinese team (who didn’t compete today) at the Olympics will be: Li Meiju (18.73m SB), Li Ling (18.85m SB) and 19-year-old Gong Lijiao (19.09m). All three finished in the top eight in Osaka last season.

The second day of competition, Saturday, will feature finals for men’s shot put, women’s triple jump, men’s long jump, women’s pole vault, women’s discus and 3000m steeplechase for both.

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Mirko Jalava for the IAAF