Chao-Tsun Cheng after his Asian record throw at the World University Games in Taipei City (© organisers)
Chao-Tsun Cheng shattered the Asian record in the javelin throw at the World University Games in Taipei City on Saturday (26).
Competing before an energised home crowd at Taipei Stadium, the 23-year-old from Chinese Taipei threw 91.36m in the final round to break the previous Asian record of 89.15m set by Zhao Qinggang of China at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
In a competition of remarkable quality, Cheng defeated Germany's Andreas Hofmann who reached 91.07m with the competition's final dramatic effort.
“Before the competition, I was discussing it with Coach Anders [Borgstrom] and saying I wanted to get past 90 metres and to become Asia’s first to do it," Cheng said. "I wanted to be a javelin legend and to leave an incredible score on home soil."
With their performances, Cheng and Hoffman rose to positions 12 and 14 respectively on the all-time performer list and became the 17th and 18th members of the event's still exclusive 90-metre club.
Cheng, who entered the competition with an 86.92m lifetime best set last April, took the early lead with an opening round effort of 83.91m. But Hofmann, who opened with an 83.00m throw, took full command in round three when he reached 85.59m, improving in every subsequent round. He threw 85.97m in the fourth, and a near-PB 88.33m in the fifth.
Meanwhile, Cheng improved marginally in the fourth round with an 84.37m effort before fouling on his fifth throw. His winning 91.36m blast followed.
Not an Aussie but it's rare you see a crowd react like this to the javelin... Chinese Taipei's Chao-Tsun Cheng wins gold on his last throw 😲 pic.twitter.com/WACJU74tzD— Athletics Australia (@AthsAust) August 26, 2017
That effort inspired Hoffman, a finalist at the last two World Championships, who responded with a lifetime best of his own, but coming up just a little short with his 91.07m bomb. It was only the second time in history that a throw landing beyond 91 metres would fall short of victory. The first was Finn Aki Parviainen's 91.31m throw at the 2001 World Championships when he claimed silver behind Jan Zelezny.
Cheng's teammate Shih-Feng Huang, the world youth champion in 2009 and 2015 Asian champion, broke his previous best by nearly three metres to 86.64m to finish third.
Games' hammer throw record for Kopron
Malwina Kopron of Poland, who took World Championships bronze in London 19 days ago, set a new World University Games with her 76.85m throw, a personal best. Her effort eclipsed the previous Games mark of 75.83m set by Germany's Betty Heidler in 2009, and moved to her to second on the 2017 list behind world champion Anita Wlodarczyk.
Hanna Malyshchyk of Belarus was second with 74.93m with Kopron's teammate Joanna Fiodorow third at 71.33m. The Pole was sixth in London earlier this month and Malyshchyk 10th.
Elsewhere, London finalist Juander Santos of the Dominican Republic won the 400m hurdles in 48.65 over Chieh Chen of Taipei, who equalled his 49.05 personal best. Abdelmalik Lahoulou of Algeria was third in 49.30.
Nadine Visser of The Netherlands, who finished seventh in London in both the heptathlon and the 100m hurdles, won the latter here in 12.98 (-1.3 m/s).
Battling hefty winds, Jeffrey John of France and Italy's Irene Siragusa won the 200m titles. Siragusa clocked a 22.96 (-1.4 m/s) personal best while John clocked 20.93 (-3.8 m/s).
Verena Preiner of Austria leads the heptathlon after day one with 3586 points, 141 ahead of Australia's Alysha Jane Burnett, who's tallied 3445.
Bob Ramsak and organisers for the IAAF