Chinese men's 4x100m relay quartet at the 2015 World Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Xie Zhenye’s story behind the picture

Chinese 200m record-holder Xie Zhenye looks back with glee at this image of pure elation following China’s stunning 4x100m silver medal performance at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.

“This picture brings back some of the best memories of my life. It is the first time I won a medal on the global stage, and it makes me very happy.

“Much of the team had been together for a long time and we won the 2014 Asian Games (which the Chinese quartet won in an area record 37.99).

“We practised together ahead of the 2015 World Championships twice a week for about a year. I really believed in our team, I thought we had four of the quickest Chinese athletes (which also comprised Mo Youxue, Su Bingtian and Zhang Peimeng) in our history, although I tried not to think of myself and only how I could contribute to the team.

“Leading into the final we had high expectations. In the heats, earlier that day, we set an Asian record (37.92). We were ambitious for a medal and we were hopeful of a good performance. 

“I remember that atmosphere in the stadium that night. My parents and friends were there and I really felt the support of the crowd. It gave me a lot of motivation to win - it felt like I was competing at an Olympic Games.

“I ran the second leg of the race, so when I handed the baton on I knew we were only at the halfway stage. I then looked across to follow the rest of the race – I was both very excited and very nervous.

“We crossed the line in third but were soon upgraded to silver (behind Jamaica) after the American team were disqualified.

“I think this picture shows how excited we were. This moment was like a dream and not reality, I was only aged 22 at the time and we were enjoying the support of the crowd.

“We got back to the hotel late that night and had a little dessert to celebrate.

“That silver medal meant a lot to Chinese athletics because before that night we only had one track hero in Liu Xiang (the 2004 Olympic 110m hurdles champion). However, winning a medal in the 4x100m really helped the development of Chinese athletics, and it is a performance of which we can all be proud.”

Steve Landells for the IAAF