Zhang Wenxiu of China (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Zhang Wenxiu unleashes World Junior record and senior year Hammer lead - Chinese Champs for women - Day One

24 June 2005Zhang Wenxiu's Hammer Throw world leading mark of 73.24m highlighted the first day of the Chinese women's National Championships and 10th National Games qualifying meeting on Friday in Changsha, Hunan province, China.

World Junior record

19-year-old Zhang, who has won all of her five meetings this season, recorded the first 73m throw of her career, the winning mark is also Asian Record and World Junior Record. The previous mark for both Asia and World Juniors, held by Zhang of course, was 72.37m in Nanning on 18 April 2004.

Zhang added 90cm to her earlier season's best 72.34m which she threw in the Osaka Grand Prix on 7 May, that mark was a world leader at the time as well.

Liu Yinghui, who will be 26-years-old next week, took a big step towards bigger competitions with a second place finish and a personal best of 69.37m. Liu set her earlier pb 69.05m winning the 2003 World University Games in Daegu, South Korea.

Gu Yuan, who placed fourth in the 2003 World Championships, was only 1cm behind Liu, 69.36m and in third place in the competition.

Xing Huina returns to track

Women's 10,000m Olympic champion Xing Huina returned to track in Changsha. The weather in China has been very warm this week and conditions in Changsha were very alike to those in the men's meeting in Shijiazhuang earlier in the week.

The Changsha stadium where the meeting is held 24-26 June is the same one which hosted the 2003 City Games. With temperature around 35 C in both the morning competition and evening as well, Xing started his 2005 season with the 1500m heats in the morning.

Because of the 5000m final later in the evening, the Olympic champion did nothing extra in the 1500m. Running in heat one, she grabbed the second place in 4:21.84, the same time with third placed athlete with three first qualifying for the final.

Although both Xing and Sun Yingjie ran the 5000m, there was no direct clash between the two best Chinese distance runners, because the final was split into heats, and they ran in separate races!!!

Xing, running in heat one (temp 34 C), took it easy in the start of the race and had no problems of leaving the rest of the field behind during the second half. Her winning time of 15:31.10 was actually quite fast in comparison to some other runners who fell more than a minute behind their earlier times this season.

Chen Xiaofang finished second in the first heat with a season's best of 15:50.41. Sun Yingjie also ran her first track race of the season winning the second heat with almost half a minute. Her winning time of 15:42.61 gave her the second place overall.

Li Meiju over 19m in Shot Put

Li Meiju, who has been the best shot putter in China since winning the 2001 National Games (with pb 18.92m), finally managed to get over the 19m line after four years of trying. Li's bests over the four years have been very close: 2001 18.92, 2002 18.95, 2003 18.96, 2004 18.89.

This time Li was completely without competition, but will surely be looking at an outside chance of a medal in the Helsinki World Championships later this summer. 20-year-old Li Ling placed second with a personal best of 18.16m and Qian Chunhua was third at 18.02m.

It was a difficult day for some of the former top names in China. Cheng Xiaoyan, who recorded a personal best of 20.02m as a junior in 1994 and still placed second in the 2001 National Games at 18.78m, could only manage 16.78m and 11th place. It was even worse for Zhang Xiaoyu, still only 22 years old, who two years ago was the most prominent young Chinese shot putter at 18.73m and was third in last year's National Championships with 18.00m. Today she was 15th with a best mark of 15.74m.

New era for women's 100m

Although Qin Wangping has been running pretty fast for several years, she's now looking at a possibility of winning the prestigious National Games in October. 23-year-old Qin, whose personal best still dates back to 2000 when she ran 11.30 as an 18-year-old, won the 100m final clocking a time of 11.33, the second fastest during career.

Qin's thoughts will be on the National Games win because Li Xuemei's career looks to be near the end. The 28-year-old best Chinese sprinter of all-time, who has won the double in both 1997 and 2001 National Games and set standing Asian records of 10.79 and 22.01 over 100/200m in 1997, faded to 12.10 in her heat in the morning and could not even enter the semifinals.

Li has been badly hampered by injures ever since the 1997 Games, but did come back to win the double in 2001. Before this season she said that she will end her career to the 2005 National Games, but with a season's best of 11.87 and a finish outside the top 16 in the qualifying meeting means that the heat might have been her last competition.

Shen Shengfei leads the heptathlon after the day one with 3491. Wang Hailan is in second place (3474) and will really challenge the 2001 National Games winner for the win during day two.

In the women's javelin qualification Xue Juan returned to the same stadium where she set the World Junior record of 62.93m in 2003 being only 17 years old at the time. She has been struggling to even reach the 60m line ever since, but managed an easy season's best of 59.25m in the qualification.

In the women's long jump all the favourites advanced to the final. Liu Huahua's set a personal best of 6.63m in front of her home crowd and Guan Yingnan, the best Chinese long jumper, was third with 6.32m.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF

Top results

100m (0.0): Qin Wangping 11.33; 2 Shu Yan 11.43; 3 Wang Man 11.59.

Semifinals, heat 1 (+1.4): Chen Lisha 11.55; 2 Shu Yan 11.57; 3 Niu Nana 11.60, heat 2: Qin Wangping 11.54; 2 Wang Man 11.61.

5000m Final (split into two heats!!! Fastest overall times led to positions!!!): Xing Huina 15:31.10 (heat 1); 2 Sun Yingjie 15:42.61 (heat 2); 3 Chen Xiaofang 15:50.41 (heat 1); 4 Dong Xiaoqin 15:55.21 (heat 1); 5 Zhu Yanmei (86, heat 1) 15:55.59.

100m Hurdles, heat 1 (0.0): Su Yiping 13.36; 2 Ju Fangqian 13.60, heat 2 (0.0): He Liyuan 13.37; 2 Liu Jing 13.38; 3 Zhang Lu 13.63, heat 3 (0.0): Feng Yun 13.45; 2 Zhang Rong 13.56; 3 Wang Jindan (87) 13.57.

Long Jump, qualification: Liu Huahua 6.63/0.0; 2 Wang Lina 6.51/0.0; 3 Guan Yingnan 6.32/0.0.

Shot: Li Meiju 19.05; 2 Li Ling 18.16; 3 Qian Chunhua 18.02; 4 Li Fengfeng 17.74; 5 Wang Yawen 17.68; 6 Li Li (87) 17.32; 7 Wang Lihong 17.23; 8 Yang Cui 17.19.

Hammer: Zhang Wenxiu 73.24 World leader, Asian Record, World Junior Record; 2 Liu Yinghui 69.37; 3 Gu Yuan 69.36; 4 Yang Meiping 66.61.

Javelin, qualification: Xue Juan (86) 59.25.

Heptathlon, after day 1: Shen Shengfei 3491 (14.27/+1.3 1.81 13.76 26.19/+1.1); 2 Wang Hailan 3474 (13.83/0.0 1.66 13.25 24.63/+1.8).