Chinese sprinter Xie Zhenye after the 200m (© Getty Images)
With China enjoying huge success at the Asian Games, where the athletics action ended just nine days ago, it was always clear that many of the top athletes gaining success there would not appear at the National Championships on 9-12 October just more than a week later.
The city of Suzhou, located in Jiangsu province, just 85km east of Shanghai, hosted the four-day meeting. Some of the gold medallists from Inchon appeared to do just enough to win, while some of the Asian Games medallists were surprisingly beaten by athletes who did not even compete in Inchon.
The highlight of the meeting came on Saturday (11) with 21-year-old Xie Zhenye regaining the national 200m record.
The Zhejiang athlete was one of the medal favourites in Inchon, having run a 20.74 heat, but was disqualified in the semi-final. Xie’s Asian Games was not a total disappointment, as it ended with a gold medal and Asian record of 37.99 in the 4x100m.
In Suzhou, the 200m specialist surprised by winning the first national 100m title of his career, clocking 10.36 on Thursday. Asian Games silver medallist Su Bingtian, who ran a season’s best of 10.10 in Inchon, was only able to produce a 10.45 run in this competition to finish second.
In the 200m final Xie’s main rival was Zhang Peimeng, the world 100m semi-finalist. Xie had equalled the national record of 20.54 in 2012, but Zhang broke it one year later with 20.47. Zhang finished fourth in the 100m at the recent Asian Games but missed out on the 200m final after picking up a minor injury in the semi-finals.
In the end, Xie won easily in Suzhou , clocking a 20.44 national record into a -0.3m/s headwind, comfortably winning his third straight national 200m title. Zhang ran a 20.71 season’s best for second place.
Zheng comes of age
In the women’s high jump, 25-year-old Zheng Xingjuan finally improved on her personal best, which dated back to 2009.
The youth and junior star, who took silver at the 2006 Asian Games as a 17-year-old and then won the bronze in 2010 before returning to silver medal in 2014, was one of the few Asian Games medallists who was able to produce a better result at the National Championships.
The Fujian athlete cleared 1.96m on Sunday morning to add one centimetre to the PB she set when she was 20 years old. She had also jumped 1.95m in qualifying at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu and indoors in 2014 for the national indoor record.
Wang Yang was second with a 1.88m season’s best and 20-year-old Zhang Luyu added one centimetre to her previous best with the same height for third.
Li beats Asian Games javelin champion
There may not have been any big breakthroughs, but the women’s throwing events were of a high standard, as usual.
In the javelin, the top two from the Asian Games – Zhang Li and Li Lingwei – exchanged places, with Li winning the title with a season’s best of 62.56m ahead of Zhang’s 60.48m. Yang Xinli was the third athlete to throw beyond 60 metres with a season’s best of 60.30m.
Asian Games winners Wang Zheng and Gong Lijiao won their events easily with Wang recording a 72.61m winning mark in the hammer and Gong 18.67m in the shot. Tan Jian won the discus with a 61.07m season’s best ahead of Su Xinyue (61.03m) and Lu Xiaoxin (60.17).
Asian Games long jump bronze medallist Gao Xinglong jumped much farther in this meeting, winning with a wind-aided 8.21m (2.3m/s) ahead of Tang Gongchen’s 8.05m for the silver.
Asian Games heptathlon silver medallist Wang Qingling added another 17 points to her personal best from there, winning the title with 5873. Asian Games pole vault winner Li Ling did just enough for the title, clearing her opening height of 4.15m. In the women’s 100m hurdles, Asian Games silver medallist Sun Yawei won in 13.01, a season’s best and the second-fastest clocking of her career. Asian Games winner Wu Shuijiao did not compete.
In the rest of the men’s events, the new Asian javelin record-holder Zhao Qinggang did just enough to win with 76.97m, more than 12 metres shy of his winning mark from Inchon.
With the two 5.80m pole vaulters Yang Yangcheng and Xue Changrui not competing, 20-year-old Zhang Wei equalled his 5.60m personal best for the win. Yao Jie was second with the same height, also an equal PB, and 18-year-old Huang Bokai was third with 5.40m, just five centimetres shy of the PB he set at this year’s World Junior Championships.
With the two best high jumpers Zhang Guowei and Wang Yu not present, Guo Jinqi equalled his personal best of 2.24m to win the high jump. Cheng Wen, the Asian Games bronze medallist, won his third national title in the 400m hurdles in 50.27. In the 110m hurdles, Asian Games champion Xie Wenjun was missing and Jiang Fan, fifth in Inchon, won the title in 13.57.
In the last event of the meeting, the men’s triple jump, the Asian Games medallists Cao Shuo and Dong Bin were missing, but 21-year-old Xu Xiaolong from Chongqing made great progress, winning his first national title with 16.82m, adding 35 centimetres to his personal best from 2013.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF