Series06 Jun 2016

First impressions – Wang Jianan


Chinese long jumper Wang Jianan (© AFP / Getty Images)

At the tender age of 19, Wang Jianan is already established among the world’s elite long jumpers. The Chinese athlete first emerged on the global scene when winning the 2014 world junior title in Eugene and last year in Beijing he took the bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships.

Here he gives an insight into some first things of significance both on and off the track 

First sport

Volleyball was my first sport. In grade two, some after-school activities were arranged and that is when I first tried volleyball.

First athletics competition

It took place when I was aged 11 in 2007 in a city-wide competition in my home city of Shenyang. I remember I competed in the 60m hurdles, but I finished second. I was so disappointed with the result that I cried after the race. I later competed as a decathlete, although my best discipline to begin was the pole vault (his PB of 5.00m was set back in 2012, aged 15).

First competition outside of China

It was the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney in 2013. It was my first ever time outside of China. I remember the weather was very good, the environment was very good and the people look quite different to what I was used to. I won the competition with 7.86m. The surroundings made me feel very comfortable and the spectators were very enthusiastic, which made me feel good and excited.

First athletics disappointment

It came at the 2013 National Games, my first experience of the National Games. I felt nervous beforehand and I didn’t perform well in the competition (Wang finished down in 11th in the final with a best of 7.52m in his home city of Shenyang). Fortunately, it didn’t take too long to recover from the disappointment. I was a young boy at the time and I didn’t think too much about it.

First toy

I can’t remember if I gave it a name, but it was a teddy bear. It meant a lot to me because it was my first toy.

First thing you learned to cook

Scrambled egg. I learned to cook it when I was 13 years old. These days I get to eat it every day in the athlete cafeteria, so I haven’t had to cook it for a long time.

First car

I don’t have a car, only a bicycle.

First pet

It is a little dog by the name of Doudou. It is cute, lively and thin.

Steve Landells for the IAAF