Zou's triple jump record finally falls after 28 years
2009-Oct-27 13:07:10

JINAN, Shandong province: After 28 years, China's men's triple jump great Zou Zhenxian finally saw his national record tumble at the National Games Monday night.

At the pit, Li Yanxi of Hebei won the gold medal with an amazing jump of 17.59 meters, beating Zou's record of 17.34m, which was set at the Rome World Cup in 1981.

Silver medalist Zhu Shujing from Zhejiang also surpassed the mark with a leap of 17.41m.

"I feel very excited about this result as a successor to my career has finally emerged," said 54-year-old Zou, who watched the final in the Jinan Olympic Sports Center.

Zou had been seeking China's next big star in the event for years but was disappointed by the slow progress of the newcomers. He even hosted a special tournament nine times to inspire youngsters to break his record.

"I have been waiting for this moment for 28 years. I organized the triple jump challenge for nine years in China and I was always expecting this moment," Zou told China Daily.

Li's result matched that of the Beijing Olympic bronze medalist's leap and would have earned silver at the World Championships in Berlin this year. It is also a new Asian record.

"Before the final I thought I might finish with a good result tonight but I never thought of breaking the record," said 25-year-old Li. "I didn't notice Zou was in the stands as I was nervous and excited during the final his record has always been my goal since I took up the sport."

Zou considered Li's technique near "perfect".

"His result is to be expected as his techniques of starting, running up and stepping are all nearly perfect," Zou said. "He is young and still has a lot of room for improvement. If he continues to work hard and gain more experience it's highly possible for him to win a medal at the 2012 London Games.

"His level is close to the world's elite."

On the track, the reigning women's marathon world champion, Bai Xue, claimed her second gold medal at the National Games by winning the 10,000m in 31 minutes, 17.62 seconds.

Her first gold came in the marathon, which was held on Oct 18.

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