Lijiao Gong putting for bronze in Berlin (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Strong start for Chinese throwers in Zhaoging

Chinese athletes started their outdoor season in Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province, this weekend with some good results in the throwing events. Some of the throwers had already competed in a long throws meet four weeks ago, but this really was the first full National Grand Prix meeting outdoors in 2011.

The best result of the competition came no surprise in the women's Shot Put where 22-year-old Gong Lijiao was in good form with a 19.86m winning mark. This is Gong's fifth best mark of her career and she has already thrown 19.93m indoors in March this year. The youngster has broken 20 metres in two successive seasons with a 20.35m personal best in 2009 National Games and then a 20.13m season's best in last year's inaugural Continental Cup in Split. Gong is second on the 2011 world list behind leader Valerie Vili (NZL), who has already thrown a massive 20.55m in March. Liu Xiangrong was second in the competition with a 18.25m result.

In the women's Discus Throw 31-year-old Li Yanfeng continued her good form from last season. Last year Li took a surprise win at the Continental Cup and then went on to win the Asian Games as well. Here Li won her 2011 opener with a 64.48m throw which takes her to second on the world list behind Croatian Sandra Perkovic, who has set a 67.96m national record this season. In the women's Javelin Throw Chinese number one thrower Liu Chunhua equalled her 2009 personal best 60.65m winning the same exact mark in this competition too.

In the men's events 2003 World Youth Championships silver medallist Wu Jian is finally hitting top form in the senior level. The 24-year-old from Jiangsu Province won the Discus Throw competition with a big personal best 63.54m adding almost two metres to the 61.65 mark which he threw four weeks ago in Chengdu. His best mark before this season was 60.75m from 2008. Zhang Jun started with a 19.12m in shot put.

There were good results in the men's jumping events as well. Su Xiongfeng equalled his 2010 personal best in the Long Jump winning with an 8.17m jump. In the Triple Jump 22-year-old Dong Bin started with a promising 16.86m result equalling his outdoor personal best from last September. Dong has already set a national record indoors this winter with a 17.01m leap in February. Nineteen-year-old Cao Shuo was second with a 16.79m result.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF

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