China won four of the eight gold medals on offer on the opening day of the Asian Championships in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Wednesday (3).
The hosts maintained their dominance in the 110m hurdles as Xie Wenjun claimed the title with 13.56. After the race, Xie admitted that he was still bothered by jet-lag after clocking 13.39 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene just four days prior.
“The morning session was OK. I clocked 13.55 and thought I could at least run sub-13.40 in the final,” said the 2014 Asian Games champion. “But in the afternoon I started to feel sleepy and powerless.”
Defending champion Jiang Fan of China was still trying to rebound from an ankle injury and only finished fifth in 13.85.
China made it a sprint hurdles double as Asian Games champion Wu Shuijiao won the women’s event in 13.12, but she was not satisfied with her performance.
“I still need to work on the home sprint,” said Wu, who clocked a PB of 12.72 when winning gold in Inchon last year. “Hopefully I can improve my PB at the coming World Championships in August.”
In spite of the absence of seasoned throwers Zhang Wenxiu and Wang Zheng, China still took the gold medal in women’s hammer throw thanks to Liu Tingting’s second-round effort of 68.24m.
China’s fourth gold medal came from Lu Minjia, who cruised to the top of the podium in the women’s long jump, setting a season’s best of 6.52m.
Al-Garni and Desalegn take 1500m titles
Competing in his first race of the year, Qatar’s double Asian Games champion Mohamad Al-Garni clocked 3:41.42 to win the men’s 1500m by more than a second.
The 2010 world junior bronze medallist attributed his victory to a successful strategy.
“The plan was just to follow the guys and wait for the last 300 meters,” said Al-Garni, who will compete in the 5000m on Thursday. “I was confident with my last sprint.”
The women’s 1500m witnessed a thrilling home-stretch battle with China’s Zhao Jing and reigning champion Betlhem Desalegn of UAE crossing the finish line almost neck-and-neck. Desalegn snatched the gold with a 0.01 margin in 4:29:39.
Inderjeet Singh of India won the men’s shot put with his fourth-round attempt of 20.41m to break the championship record. Any one of his four measured throws, all of which were 20 metres or better, would have been enough to win.
Uzbekistan’s Svetlana Radzivil upgraded her silver medal from the previous edition of the championships and won gold with a season’s best of 1.91m in the women’s high jump.
Ogunode impresses in 100m rounds
The hosts’ dominant performances were somewhat upstaged by Qatari sprinter Femi Ogunode, who stormed to a championship record of 9.97 in the men’s 100m semi-final.
A total of 34 sprinters enrolled in the men’s 100m and the 24-year-old Asian record holder clocked 10.12 to stay on top of the preliminary round in the morning session. His solid form continued in the afternoon as he dashed to a season’s best of 9.97 (1.1m/s), beating the championship record of 9.99 set by compatriot Samuel Francis in 2007.
His time was just 0.04 shy of the 9.93 Asian record he set when winning the Asian Games title last year, and Ogunode expressed his ambition to break that mark in Thursday’s final.
Su Bingtian, the defending champion who improved the Chinese record to 9.99 at the recent IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene on Saturday, chose to skip the individual event in Wuhan but will contest the 4x100m later in the championships.
Vincent Wu for the IAAF