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Golden Gong finally lands shot put title

Gong Lijiao

Gong Lijiao

CHINA’S Gong Lijiao ended her long wait for a global outdoor title when she won the shot put gold at the world championships on Wednesday, utterly dominating the competition in the absence of reigning champion Christina Schwanitz and four-time champion Valerie Adams.

The 28-old-year had won five silver and bronze medals at the world championships and Olympics but a gold had always eluded her until a chilly, wet night at the London Olympic stadium.

Gong made of light of the conditions as she broke 19 meters with five of her six attempts and won with a fifth throw of 19.94 meters, in the process winning China’s first gold in London.

There were only two other throws over 19 — Anita Marton’s final effort of 19.49 which won silver for the Hungarian and American Michelle Carter’s third throw of 19.14 which took bronze.

Gong was left delighted with China’s first shot put title since Huang Zhihong won her second gold in Stuttgart in 1993, saying: “I competed more this year to be ready for these championships.

“It is 24 years since China won a shot put medal, so it’s a very special moment for me. Of course, the rain affected the competition and that is the reason we didn’t go past 20 meters tonight.”

Gong added: “My next goal is, of course, the Tokyo Olympics. My memories of London 2012 are mixed because I was third originally, then I was moved to second later. I didn’t like the way that happened. So I am glad to show all the hard work I’ve done in the past with this gold medal.”

Gong first appeared one the scene as an 18-year-old at the 2007 world championships where she finished seventh.

She won Olympic bronze in Beijing in 2008 and silver in London in 2012 as well as world silver in Beijing two years ago.

Gong was agonizingly close to ending that run in Beijing when she threw 20.30 in the opening round but lost out to German Schwanitz by 7 centimeters.

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