20/03/2021   Huangshan (CHN): 20km men victory of Wang Kaihua in 1:16:54



Fireworks this morning in Huangshan on the classic course of each year where the competitions of the first day of the National Winter Championships of China are taking place.
The first of the scheduled races starts at 8:00
20km men
It had been years since there had been such a race. Some very interesting marks had been seen in La Coruna in the 2019 edition, in Kobe and Nomi in the editions of recent years, but we believe that to get to these results we must go back to March 15, 2015 when Yusuke Suzuki (JPN) had stopped the clock in 1:16:36 which is the current world record.
His split times had been then
- 5km: 19:04
- 10km: 38:06 (19:02)
- 15km: 57:15 (19:09)
. Last 5km in 19:21.
At the time, however, the second and third finishers finished in 1:19:08 and were Isamu Fujisawa (JAP) and Daisuke Matsunaga (JAP).
We actually witnessed some fireworks today.
Thirty-nine athletes at the start, two DNF and 2 DQ under the orders of an international jury with two level 3 judges and one level 2, all from the Asian area due to the pandemic and its quarantine problems.
Of the remaining 35, 16 established the personal best, another 17 established the season best (and this was quite predictable given that the outdoor season has just begun).

The seasonal world ranking has so far seen Toshikazhu Yamanishi (JPN) in the lead in 1:17:20 followed by Eiki Takahashi (JPN) in 1:18:04 and Koki Ikeda (JPN) in 1:18:45.
Today in Huangshan everything has changed.
The top three had a stellar race with the victory of Wang Kaihua (CHN) in 1:16:54 second world performance ever (third if we also consider the time of 1:16:43 obtained by Sergey Morozov, RUS on 21.3.1988 in Saransk, on a course that at the time had raised some doubts). But what matters most is that it is China's new national record (previous by Wang Zhen, 1:17:36, set in Taicang, 30.3.2012).
Below his split times each 5km:

- 5km: 19:22

- 10km: 38:40 (19:08)

- 15km: 57:49 (19:09)

- last 5km in 19:05


The second place and the third place went to the two athletes trained by Sandro Damilano with the collaboration of Wang Yinhang and Sun Chao now in China, and divided by 61/1000.
The fight between the two training partners was like two bitter-enemies. Together until the 5km the youngest (Zhang Jun) sforces his pace in the second and third quarter of the race.
Then he gave up 6 seconds in the last 5km and they arrived together, but the victory went to the older and more experienced Cai Zelin.
Second place to Cai Zelin (CHN) in 1:17:39 (1:17:38 and 179/1000) which represents the 17th all time performance behind Chen Ding's 1:17:40 made in Taicang on 30.5.2912 )
Below his split times each 5km:

- 5km: 19:31

- 10km: 38:54 (19:23)

- 15km: 58:09 (19:15)

- ultimi 5km in 19:30

Third place to Zhang Jun (CHN) born on 20.7.1998 in 1:17:39 (1:17:38 and 231/1000) which represents the 18th all-time performance behind Chen Ding's 1:17:40 made in Taicang on 30.5.2912).
Fourth place to Cui Lihong (CHN) born on 13.6.1999 in 1:17:52 representing the 20th all-time performance as well as the athlete's personal best (previous of 1:20:30 obtained in Huangshan on 9 March 2019)

To make a comparison with the results outside the Far East (China and Japan) we will only tell you that in Europe:
- Salih Kormaz (TUR) winner in Antalya (TUR) in 1:18:42 would have finished sixth
- Perseus Karlstrom (SWE) winner in Murcia (ESP) in 1:18:44 would have finished seventh
- Eduard Zabuzhenko (UKR) second in Antalya (TUR) in 1:19:29 would have finished eighth
- Diego Garcia (ESP) second in Murcia (ESP) in 1:19:40 would have finished ninth
Let's see what happens in the afternoon with the women.