Xiangdong Bo of China celebrates winning the men's 10,000m Race Walk in Beijing (© Getty Images)
The Chinese pair of Hong Liu and Xiangdong Bo completed a sweet double for the host country in the women and men’s finals of the 10,000m Race Walk respectively to highlight the morning session of competition day five at the Chaoyang Sport Centre, here in Beijing.
With two medals in the space of one hour, China was rocketed to the top of the medal standings by countries with 5 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals, their best result since the 1998 edition of these championships with still two sessions to go!
It was women first on the track this morning as 25 teenagers representing 20 countries lined-up to compete in the overwhelming heat of Beijing.
Liu breaks away in last kilometre
As expected the final turned out to be a China Vs Russia battle which eventually went in favour of the Asian nation courtesy of a superb last kilometre by 19-year-old Hong Liu.
The Chinese broke away from Tatyana Shemyakina with exactly 1000 metres left in the race following what seemed to be a very clear tactic. Liu covered the last two of the 25 laps with comfortable ease and finished in 45:12.84 more than 20 seconds ahead of Shemyakina.
Earlier in the race, it had looked like Vera Sokolova, the number one Russian in this final, two-time World Race Walk Cup winner and World Youth champion in 2003 would add another title to her résumé but the diminutive Russian who had held onto the lead for the first 5 kilometres dropped down after being shown her second warning with more than 12 laps to go.
Eventually Sokolova came in fourth also overtaken by Romania’s Anamaria Greceanu for bronze.
One-two for China in the men’s race
In the men’s race, the host country went one better as Bo’s gold was backed by Zhengyu Huang’s second place finish in a personal best time of 43:13.29. The Chinese pair preceded Japan’s Yusuke Suzuki (43:45.62) for an Asian sweep of the medals, the first time a European representative fails to win any kind of medal in the men’s Race Walk in the history of the World Junior Championships.
Bo’s display this morning was pure class as the 18-year-old never left the leading pack before breaking away from early race leader Sergey Morozov (who failed to finish the race) and Suzuki with three and a half laps to go.
He walked the last kilometre alone although helped by the Chinese fans whose cheers from the stands became louder and louder as Huang started to gain ground further back in the field.
Huang overtook Zuzuki and Morozov to lie 150 metres behind Bo at the bell, his silver medal now secured.
The World Youth champion in Marrakesh last year, Morozov collapsed at the finish line when he still had one lap to go his early race efforts evidently paying their toll.
Russian continues to dominate Heptathlon
World Junior leader Tatyana Chernova almost doubled her overnight lead of 128 points to 336 points after six events in the women’s Heptathlon.
The 18-year-old Russian who had set three personal bests yesterday, improved yet again on her personal best in the Long Jump, the opening event of day two and although she threw the javelin four metres below her record her 50.51m effort was still the best of the field by a massive five metres this morning.
Chernova, already a World Youth champion last year in Marrakesh, leapt out to 6.35m with her third and final attempt to score 959 points in the Long Jump for an overall total of 4607 points after five events.
Her javelin effort was converted into 870 points which took her total before the seventh and final event to 5477 points.
The battle for silver remains wide open as Ida Marcussen of Norway who was lying in third overnight overtook Yana Panteleyeva, her javelin effort of 45.42m giving her a lead of 14 points (5114) over the Russian (5110) with one event remaining.
Marcussen had dropped down to fourth after the Long Jump but soon recovered taking advantage of Panteleyeva’s weak event. A silver medallist in Marrakesh, the Russian still improved her PB to 40.44m in the Javelin.
Americans and Jamaicans lead sprint relay qualifiers
Six heats of the 4x100m relays concluded this morning’s session.
The US female quartet which included American champion Alexandria Anderson in leg two was the fastest qualifier winning heat 2 in 43.67 ahead of Great Britain (44.33). National champion Franciela Krasucki ran a superb final leg to break the South American Junior record and offer Brazil the fastest loser’s spot for the final in 44.43.
Anchored by individual sprint finalist Céline Distel, France had previously won the first heat in 44.02 with China taking the second automatic qualifying spot in a distant 44.99.
In the third and final heat, Jamaica came out on top despite a poor start counting on Carrie Russell and Schilonie Calvert to finish strong in 44.69. Poland was the second automatic qualifier in 44.75 with Russia taking the last spot in the final in 44.92.
In the men’s heats, Jamaica clocked the fastest World Junior time of the year to win the third race in 39.18. Anchorman Yohan Blake, the individual 100m bronze medallist out-dipped Leevan Yearwood of Great Britain who came in second in 39.30.
The USA won heat two in 39.50 ahead of Canada (39.64) who was anchored by Brian Barnett, the 200m silver medallist. The teams of Russia and Poland automatically advance to tomorrow’s final having finished first and second in heat one although their times of 40.06 and 40.07 are slower than three fastest losers.
The two remaining lanes in the final will be filled by Nigeria (39.68 in heat 3) and Poland (39.92 in heat 4).
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF