Wang Jiali to lead Chinese women's Marathon squad for London Games

Wang Jiali to lead Chinese women's Marathon squad for London Games

Provided by IAAF

The 2012 Chinese Marathon Championships were conducted with the Chongqing International Marathon on Saturday (17) morning. This meet also served as the Olympic Trials, it seems literally this time. Chinese women have been the most consistent performers in the recent World Championships and Olympics and therefore there is a big difference in China who will be in the team.

Before this race, featuring all the best Chinese marathon runners, there was a 2:25 limit set for Olympic qualification. To finish under this time and in top three would earn an automatic place in the Olympic team. Of course this made sure the race was going to be fast and it was a good one. The top three did indeed finish under 2:25 and the team will consist of these three with the additional reserve runner (placed fourth in this race) also attending the training camp.

There was a surprise winner in the race with 26-year-old Hebei athlete Wang Jiali lowering her personal best by three and a half minutes to 2:22:41 and a clear win. Wang won her second straight national title and had set her previous best 2:26:12 in the 2011 National Championships marathon in Dalian in April. She will be running her first Olympic marathon, but is not a newcomer to the major championships as she finished in eighth place in Daegu last August. Wang now takes the fourth place in the Chinese all-time list behind Sun Yingjie (2:19:39), Zhou Chunxiu (2:19:51) and Zhang Yingying (2:22:38). The next two members of the team were the usual suspects. 33-year-old veteran Zhou Chunxiu ran 2:23:42 for the second place and her best result for almost five years since she won the 2007 London Marathon in 2:20:38. Zhou’s personal best is 2:19:51 from a win in Seoul International Marathon in 2006.

Zhu Xiaolin, 28, took third place in 2:24:19, her second best career clocking and only 22 seconds behind personal best 2:23:57 which she ran almost 10 years ago in Beijing as an 18-year-old. Zhu has been the most consistent performer of all runners in recent major championships. She finished in fourth place at the 2007 World Championships and 2008 Olympics and was fifth at the 2009 World Championships and then sixth in Daegu last year.

21-year-old Wang Xueqin will be the reserve runner. She finished in fourth place in a 2:25:53 personal best, almost two and a half minutes faster than the former PB 2:28:17 set in Seoul 2010.

A couple of big names were left out of the team as well. Sun Weiwei, who ran at the 2007 and 2009 World Championships finished in fifth in 2:28:21 and Chen Rong, who was 11th in Daegu last season, was eighth way back from the leaders in 2:32:31. But there was one athlete, who was more disappointed than the rest.

23-year-old Bai Xue, who has been battling with injuries ever since spring 2010, did not make it finishing in lowly 24th place in 2:43:27, in her first marathon since April 2010 and also the worst result in her 14 career marathons. From city Wuhan in Hubei province, she won the 2009 World Championships marathon in style in Berlin, but troubled with injuries, she seems to be far from that form now.

The fastest male runner in the National Championships race was Dong Guojian, who grabbed the win in 2:15:03. Dong placed 14th in Daegu last year.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF