China’s star sprinters strike gold in Beijing

World champions make their mark on day one of Grand Prix 10 May 2019
female wheelchair racer Hongzhuan Zhou on the track

Hongzhuan Zhou was one of several Chinese stars to win on home track in Beijing

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By World Para Athletics

Sprints dominated the action on day one of the World Para Athletics Beijing Grand Prix with China’s world champions Cuiqing Liu, Hongzhuan Zhou and Yifei Yang among the winners.

Liu won 400m T11 gold at London 2017 but had to settle for silver behind her great rival Guohua Zhou over 200m, but she turned the tables at last year’s Asian Para Games – and did the same again on Friday in the Chinese capital.

The 27-year-old clocked 24.65 seconds, well clear of Zhou (26.10), to win the women’s 200m T11.

Zhou, 28, did however enjoy her own golden moment later in the day, leaping 4.52m to win the women’s long jump T11/12.

Hongzhuan Zhou (16.61) kicked off her weekend of racing with a win ahead of teammate Fang Gao (16.71) in the women’s 100m T51/53 before going on to claim a second gold later in the day in the 400m.

The seven-time world champion clocked 54.25, knocking Australian Angie Ballard off the top of the T53 world rankings in both events in the process.

Double delight

Zhaoqian Zhou also made it two wins out of two on the opening day of competition at the China Administration of Sports for Persons with Disabilities complex.

In the morning session Zhou (16.27) saw off marathon specialist Lihong Zou (16.90) to take the win in the women’s 100m T54, then in the afternoon she secured gold over one lap in 55.02.

Reigning world champions Yifei Yang (12.03) and Yiting Shi (16.39) also made light work of victory in their respective 100m T36 races.

Shi finished nearly two seconds clear of her opposition; there was no surprise either as double Paralympic sprint champion Xia Zhou (15.77) finished out in front in the women’s 100 T35.

World bronze medallist Dongdong Di (23.27) claimed first place in the men’s 200m T11/12 ahead of Vietnam’s Nguyen Khanh Minh Pham (23.06).

World silver medallist Yang Liu (14.13) took the win in the men’s 100m T54, although he had to settle for second behind teammate and Asian Para Games champion Yong Zhang (45.28) over one lap.

There were also 400m wins for Japan’s Yuka Takamatsu (1:05.43) in the women’s T38; Lu Li (58.44) in the women’s T46/47; Kefeng Huang (1:03.65) in the men’s T36; Peng Zhou (56.02) in the men’s T37; Dening Zhu (55.02) in the men’s T38 and Japan’s Yudai Susuki (51.18) in the men’s T46/47/64.

Pereira goes the distance

Among the winners in Friday’s middle-distance races was Portugal’s Cristiano Pereira. The 22-year-old, who won world silver behind USA’s Michael Brannigan at London 2017, crossed the line in 4:01.92, with Japan’s Yuki Iwata (4:06.80) in second place.

Back on the track two weeks after finishing sixth at the World Marathon Championships, Lihong Zou took on the 5,000m T54, finishing first in 11:51.50.

Host nation impress in field

Paralympic gold medallist Guoshan Wu notched up two wins out in the field.

The 36-year-old won the men’s shot put F56/57 with a best of 13.36m, having earlier sealed victory in the discus F57 - the only competitor to go beyond the 40-metre mark.

Wu threw 43.91m, with Vietnam’s Ngoc Hung Cao (38.23m) in second place.

World champion Yanzhang Wang finished well clear of the field in the men’s discus F32/34, throwing 39.49m in the penultimate round. He claimed a second win in the shot put F34 (10.34m) later in the day.

In fact, a number of China’s 2017 world champions were in winning form.

Enlong Wei threw 15.56m to finish nearly one metre ahead of compatriot Zhanbiao Hou (14.61m) in the shot put F46 and Pengxiang Sun (43.61m) won the men’s javelin F41.

In the women’s events, Lijuan Zou (18.83m) enjoyed a convincing win in the javelin F33/34, as did experienced thrower Liwan Yang in the javelin F53/54. The 41-year-old three-time Paralympic champion reached a best of 17.36m, more than six metres clear of her opposition.

Na Mi (24.97m) only took two throws in the women’s javelin F37, her best of 24.97m securing a straightforward win.

Juan Yao took gold in the women’s javelin F44, throwing 38.19m in the second round before passing her final four attempts.

Yuping Zhao (42.88m) led through all six rounds of the women’s javelin F12 – her winning throw 16cm further than the mark that earned her gold at London 2017, but still two metres shy of her own world record.

Japan’s world and Paralympic silver medallist Atsushi Yamamoto (6.70m) only managed to register two marks in the men’s long jump T44/63 but his final-round leap of 6.70m was more than enough to take the win.