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New stars eclipse world champions in Chinese City Games
www.chinaview.cn 2003-10-27 20:03:46

  CHANGSHA, Oct. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese sports stars are still shining in international field, while their juniors have prepared to catch up with them or follow in their steps in national meet.

  Since its inauguration in 1988, the Chinese City Games has been the cradle for sports talents with potentials. Although the fifth edition in Changsha is also confined only to young athletes, it is by no means world class athletes such as world champion Luo Xuejuan in swimming and Tan Xue in fencing, both less than 20, could be dropped out in such meeting.

  However, the new rising stars in each sport caught most attention of spectators and professionals in the capital city of Hunan province.

  "I only know the renowned competitors," a Changsha-based fan named Liu Jingping said, "but the new faces always give me surprise."   


  Jia Dongjin from Baoding, Hebei province, became the first and biggest "dark horse" of the Games. The 13-year-old outperformed world champion Lao Lishi to take gold in the all-around diving, which features the combination of 10m platform, 3m and 1m springboard events.

  "Jia will be Guo Jingjing No. 2, if not Fu Mingxia No. 2," Li Fang, from the National coaching board said.

  Chinese diving sensation Fu Mingxia, known as "diving queen", became the youngest world champion at the age of 14, when she crowned the platform competition in the 1991 world championships. The 22-year-old Guo Jingjing, Olympic and world champion in springboard, did not participate in the Games because of age limitation.

  In the National Diving Championships last month, Jia also won her event against a group of national top divers.

  Unexpected results also came from the shooting field. When World Cup gold medallist Zhang Fu was eliminated from the final ofmen's air rifle and world record holder Xu Xuan was upset in women's 10m running target, the 18-year-old rookie Wu Liuxi bumped intosight.

  Wu Liuxi, 18, displayed her talents and beyond-age maturity to overshot world champions for the gold of the fiercely contested women's air rifle.

  She shot 400 points which equaled the world record in the preliminary round and scored a total of 503.9 points to take the title, beating two world champions Zhao Yinghui and Du Li.

  "There is pressure of course," Wu said, "What I could do is to keep cool and concentrated, and I did it." The born shooter, as said by her coach, only started professional training last year.

  "Wu has proved to be strong enough to compete in international games such as the Olympics," Yu Haijuan, an official in charge of the sport said.

  Xu Haifeng, head coach of the Chinese shooting team, praised Wu's performance as well, but said that three to four shooters in China and about 20 around world have the same ability to score full points in the preliminary.

  In Saturday's fencing tournament, seemingly unbeatable fencer Tan Xue became the major casualty, ousted by Zhao Yuanyuan in the quarterfinal of women's sabre event. Zhao went on to win the final.Tan admitted the defeat and said, "I need to improve my technique."   


  The swimming pool presented most future stars, where teenagers split a total of 32 gold medals.

  A 15-year-old girl named Wu Binan smashed world champion Yang Yu's "grand slam" dream by snatching the fifth and last freestyle title in the most challenging 50m. Yang had ruled the 400m, 200m, 100m and 800m freestyle before losing to Wu.

  It is Wu's first national swimming gold but her "superb feels in water" offers a promising future.

  Liu Weijia, 14, became the first rookie swimmer to reach the Olympic A standard (4:20.17) when he clocked in four minutes 20.09seconds in the men's 400 meters individual medley.

  Since the city games' swimming competition was ratified by FINA,the world governing body of the sport, as an eligible qualification for next year's Olympic Games, Liu might have the chance to compete in Athens given the permission of Chinese Swimming Association.

  Beijing-based swimmer Zhang Lin, with his triumph in men's 200mand 400m freestyle, appealed to ex-national head coach Chen Yunpeng.

  "The 16-year-old boy has great talents. If trained well, he could be No. 1 in Asia," Chen said.   

  HOPE FOR 2008

  Teenager taekwondist Wu Jingyu, winner of 47kg category, bears China's hope for 2008 Olympic gold medal.

  "Fast, swift, she moves like a boy. And she is creative, a potential Olympic champion," Zhao Lei, president of Chinese Taekwondo Association, commented on Wu's performance.

  "Chinese world champions add spicy to the competition, but our goal is to find more potentials for the 2008 Beijing Games," Yang Zaihui, director of the Games' competition commission said before the opening ceremony.

  Li Furong, deputy director of the State General Administration of Sports, expressed his satisfaction after watching young competitors' performance.

  "Five years later, they'll be our hope," he said. Enditem

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