World University Games runner-up Zhang Jun (Hans van Kuijen) © Copyright
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National records fall as indoor season commences in China

The first indoor meet of the 2010 Chinese season featured just a handful of the top athletes in Beijing, but there still were some notable performances too. The meet was held over two days on Saturday and Sunday 6-7 March.

The first day produced two men’s national indoor records with 26-year-old Zhang Jun grabbing his second career NR in the Shot Put, in addition to his outdoor mark of 20.41m which he set in December 2009 winning the East Asian Games in Hong Kong. Zhang, who took big leaps forward last year bettering his 2007 personal best 18.73m by more than 1.5 metres, could only finish 10th at the National Games in November with 17.78m before reaching 19.15m at the Asian Championships just weeks later and then 20.41m in December.

In Beijing Zhang added 1.31m to his indoor best 18.59m from last season winning with a 19.90m throw to erase one of the oldest Chinese indoor records. The previous record was 19.55m set by Ma Yongfeng on 31 March 1989, and which stood for almost 21 years and was the second oldest men’s indoor record. The oldest is still the 2.31m High Jump by Zhu Jianhua on 5 March 1986. Zhang will be part of the Chinese team in Doha at the World Indoor Championships.

The second record of Saturday afternoon came in the men’s Pole Vault when 22-year-old Shandong athlete Yang Yansheng set his first national record with a 5.63m clearance, just seven centimetres shy of his outdoor best 5.70m set in 2009. Previous record holder Liu Feiliang (5.62m in 2008) did not compete but still holds the NR outdoors with 5.71m in 2007. Yang will be in Doha as well.

Other highlights of day one included a 16.44m Triple Jump win by 18-year-old Cao Shuo, and a 7.32s women’s 60m win by Tao Yujia, who had run 7.36s in the heats. Li Ling won the women’s Pole Vault clearing 4.30m and Berlin bronze medallist Gong Lijiao started her Shot Put season with an easy win at 18.82m. Although her result is far from the best of the 2010 indoor season, don't be surprised if the Chinese is fighting for the medals in Doha. Liu Xiangrong was second with a 17.82m toss, exactly one metre off the 21-year-old Gong who is not threatened in domestic competition these days.

The best results on Sunday were achieved in the men’s High Jump. Two youngsters cleared 2.24m with a surprise winner, 18-year-old Wang Yu equalling the national junior indoor record. Wang’s previous best result was 2.17m with which he won the national high school champs in last August. 20-year-old Chen Ji also cleared 2.24m adding four centimetres to his indoor best from last season (also 2.20m outdoors 2009). Chen was fourth at the National Games last season but Wang only competed in his second national level meet – he took part in the same Beijing indoor meet last winter clearing 2.08m then.

Li Xianglong was a double winner over 60m/200m in 6.79s and 21.47s and Zheng Xingjuan won the women’s High Jump with a fine 1.91m season opener. Liu Xiao topped the women’s Long Jump with an indoor best 6.30m.

The second indoor meet in China will be held shortly, next Wednesday and Thursday 10-11 March in Nanjing followed by the road walks championships 14-16 March in Huangshan.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF

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