Liu Shiying in Kawasaki (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Kawasaki, Japan

Liu breaks Asian javelin record in Kawasaki

Liu Shiying of China broke the Asian record in the javelin to highlight the Golden Grand Prix, an IAAF World Challenge meeting, in Kawasaki, Japan on Sunday (21).

Opening the competition with a 63.75m effort, the 23-year-old, who took silver at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships, reached 66.47m in the third round to eclipse the previous continental mark of 66.13m set by her compatriot Lyu Huihui at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.

"The conditions today were good but I didn't expect to see 66.47," said Liu, who arrived in this city on the outskirts of Tokyo with a 65.64m best set last year. "I'll continue to set high goals but right now I want to focus on making my form and technique more consistent."

Olympic finalist Kathryn Mitchell of Australia was second, reaching a 63.23m season's best.

Liu set the tone for Chinese athletes who captured four events on the pleasant but windy afternoon at Todoroki Stadium, where more than 15,000 spectators gathered.

In the long jump, world bronze medallist Wang Jianan produced an 8.14m winning effort in the fifth round to overtake compatriot Huang Chanzhou, who controlled the competition from the second round when he sailed 8.06m.

Wu Ruiting won the triple jump at 17.18m (1.7m/s), the first career leap beyond 17 metres for the 21-year-old. Donald Scott of the USA was second at 16.97m (2.1m/s).

The fourth Chinese victory came in the men's 110m hurdles, where Xie Wenjun, facing a -1.8m/s wind, clocked 13.51 to edge Olympic finalist Milan Trajkovic of Cyprus by a scant 0.01.

Berry takes first 2017 Hammer Throw Challenge laurels

Beyond Liu's record-breaking heroics, infield action included the women's hammer, which kicked off the 2017 IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge.

In a close competition, Olympian Gwen Berry of the USA edged Olympic bronze medallist Sophie Hitchon with a 74.13m best. Hitchon threatened the US record-holder in the final round with a 73.97m effort, but came up 16 centimetres short. Joanna Fiodorow of Poland finished third with 71.46m.

In the men's javelin, Germany's Thomas Rohler, who threatened the event's 94-metre barrier in his season's debut in Doha two weeks ago, reached 86.55m to win by nearly four metres over Shih-Feng Huang of Taipei.

"It was hot today and the wind was different from yesterday's practice, but the atmosphere at the venue was good and I threw well," said Rohler, who bounced back from a disappointing fourth place finish at a throws meeting in Offenburg, Germany, eight days ago.

Tianna Bartoletta's attempt at a third straight 100m/long jump double victory in Kawasaki got off to a good start in the long jump but was foiled later on in the short dash.

Competing in her specialty for the first time this year, Bartoletta was the picture of consistency, reaching 6.79m on both her first and second jumps and 6.74m on her fourth to secure the victory over Great Britain's Shara Proctor who reached 6.65m in the fourth round of her 2017 debut.

"I'm always happy to win but today I had several good jump so I was particularly pleased with that," said Bartoletta, the world and Olympic champion in the event.

But in the 100m, the third event from the last on the afternoon programme, Bartoletta could do no better than third with a modest 11.47 in a race where Ivet Lalova-Collio was completing a double win of her own. The Bulgarian won in 11.40 from Tawanna Meadows of the US who clocked 11.44, ninety minutes after winning the 200m in 22.98.

Queen Harrison produced the day's most dominant performance on the straight, taking the 100m hurdles in 12.65, well clear of Tiffany Porter who clocked 13.00.

Justin Gatlin of the US and Canada's Aaron Brown won the men's sprints, the former clocking 10.28 (-1.2m/s) to take the 100m and the latter 20.62 (-2.0m/s) over the half lap. 

Quincy Downing of the USA won the 400m hurdles in 48.96, comfortably ahead of Takatoshi Abe of Japan who clocked 49.20.

Kenyans swept the middle distances. Tomothy Kitum won the 800m in 1:47.03, Paul Tanui the 3000m in 7:52.67, Jairus Birech the 3000m steeplechase in 8:19.54 and Nelly Jepkosgei the women's 1500m in 4:06.86.

Elsewhere, Canada's Michael Mason won the high jump at 2.30m on countback over Japan's Takashi Eto. Hiroki Ogita led a 1-2-3 sweep in the pole vault for Japan at 5.60m. And Jeneva Stevens of the US, a 2015 World Championships finalist, won the shot put by nearly a metre with 18.48m.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF