Records fall at East Asian Junior event
MEETING records tumbled like nine pins on the first day of the Watson's East Asian Junior Championships at the Tai Po Sports Ground yesterday, but the anticipated Asian marks did not materialise.
Ma Ningning, the 3,000 metres world junior record holder trained by Chinese wonder coach Ma Junren, was expected to give the 1,500 metres Asian record, four minutes and 7.71 seconds, a shake.
The 17-year-old Liaoning runner, however, posted a moderate 4:14.80 on her way to victory in this new event on the championships' programme, with Japan's Miwako Yamanaka a distant second more than 10 seconds behind.
''This was actually my first official 1,500 metres race and there is no comparison, but I think the time was okay,'' said Ma, who admitted she prefers longer distances.
''I do not know the reason for entering me in this race when my better distances are either 3,000 or 10,000 metres, but I will follow the coach's instructions.'' Top local woman middle-distance runner Chan Man-yee took the bronze in 4:28.90, beating her own Hong Kong national record by 1.61 seconds.
Chan was not happy with her effort, although it bettered the B standard for the Asian Games selection and virtually assured her of a ticket to Hiroshima next year.
She said: ''My first 400 metres were much too fast and ruined my chances of a really good time. I was hoping to stick with Yamanaka but I burnt out in the first lap.'' A total of 10 meeting records were bettered, with China's Li Shaojie being the only double-record breaker.
Li, who was tipped by team manager Yu Dexing to beat the Asian record in men's discus, made only four throws and his best effort was 57.86 metres. It bettered the meeting record by 3.16 metres, but was 0.32 of a metre short of the Asian mark.
''I forfeited the last two throws because I knew I couldn't beat the Asian record anyway, and it was better to save my energy for the shot put,'' said Li.
Other record breakers in the men's division were China's Song Mingyou (1,500 metres) and Japan's Atsuo Narita (100 metres), Yuji Yasui (400 metres), Yasunori Yoshioka (110 metre hurdles) and the Japanese in the 4 ? 400 metres relay.
Women record breakers were China's Huang Mei (100 metres) and Yu Qingmei (discus) and Japan's Akiko Morimoto in the 100 metres hurdles.
Japan's star woman high jumper Yoko Ota, with a personal best of 1.93 metres, was a bitter disappointment although she duly won the gold without being seriously challenged.