Long jumper Wang Jianan in action at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (© David Tarbotton)
Several medal candidates for the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships emerged this weekend (12-14) in Weifang, Shandong province, at the Chinese Youth Championships.
As is often the case these days with China, the best results came in the field events and in five of the men’s events, the winner is good enough to fight for a medal in Donetsk, Ukraine in July.
In the Long Jump the win went to the best youth athlete in China at the moment. Wang Jianan, who won the national senior Long Jump title last September one month after turning 16, continued well here winning with a 7.91m season’s best.
Wang jumped 7.93m indoors in March, but his personal best is 8.04m, set at the 2012 National Championships. The Jiangsu athlete is multitalented, having already scored 7063 points in decathlon with senior implements last year at the age of 15. His series included a 5.00m clearance in the Pole Vault – 30cm higher than the winner of the event at this meeting!
While some athletes, like Wang, had some experience of competing nationally and internationally, for many others this was their first ever competition at national level. 15-year-old Bai Jiaxu cleared 2.16m for the High Jump win, having jumped 2.15m indoors in March.
He Guang topped the Triple Jump with a 15.96m season’s best. He has already jumped 16 metres three years ago in 2010 at the age of 14, setting a PB of 16.06m personal best, and twice in 2011 before having a quiet 2012 season only with a 15.55m season’s best.
Yang Kang won the Shot Put with 19.94m, while Chen Liangyu was crowned champion in the Discus with a 62.58m winning mark and PB. Chen Yulong, who set a 53.01m PB with the senior implement two weeks ago, finished second here with a 61.14m PB.
It is difficult to assess the potential of combined events athletes in China, as their youth athletes compete in the Heptathlon as opposed to the Octathlon, which is contested at the World Youth Championships. But 16-year-old winner Chen Xiaohong could well be a medal candidate in Donetsk, as the throwing events are his strength. His winning series included a 70.97m throw in the Javelin and a 46.73m effort in the Discus.
The best running event on the men’s side was the 110m Hurdles where Lu Yang won in a fast 13.45, despite a strong -1.7m/s headwind. Wang Yang – who went on to win the 400m Hurdles in 52.33 – was second in 13.68 and Li Jiming third in 13.92. Zhang Taihong, who had been fastest in the heats with 13.73, faded to the fourth place in the final in 13.97.
The best youth athlete in China on the girls’ side is Wang Rong, who was an expected double winner in the Long and Triple Jump with results of 6.17m and 13.53m respectively. Wang has already jumped 6.43m indoors twice this season, as well as a World youth indoor best of 14.09m in the Triple Jump.
Qi Yannan won the Shot Put with a 16.88m toss, while Xie Yuchen topped the Discus with a 52.38m winning result, having thrown a 53.43m PB two weeks ago. Wang Meng won the Javelin with a 52.81m personal best.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF