World University Games silver medalist Zhang Peimeng has set his eyes on qualifying for the Beijing Olympic Games next year after winning the men's 100m-sprint in Wuhan on Tuesday.
"There's no Chinese ever making the Olympics in this event, and I want to be the first one," he said at a post-race news conference after taking the under-20 tournament gold with a time of 10.44 seconds.
Zhang, who became a hot topic in China after he finished second at August's World University Games, narrowly beat national teammate Wen Yongyi by only 0.03 seconds to secure the title.
The 20-year-old Zhang, however, was quite unsatisfied with the title-winning result. "Since it (the City Games) is the last tournament this year before the winter training camp, I could not find my rhythm in the race and finished with a bad result."
"But it's nothing important. The key is that I win the gold medal and find that my weakness is still in my leg strength," he said. "I'll focus on physical training this winter to get my legs much stronger before improving my techniques as I vie for a ticket to the 2008 Olympics."
Male Chinese 100m-sprinters hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games need to reach a mark of at least 10.21 seconds to qualify, and become heroes in their homeland.
"This winter's massive training camp may give us our best chance to improve," said Zhang after lifting the under-20 tournament trophy. "For me, it will depend on how hard I train with the national team to see if I can realize my goal of running under 10.21 seconds."
Wen, who also hopes to earn a berth in the 2008 Olympics, echoed Zhang's remarks.
"Success will come when conditions are ripe. So I'm confident I'll qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games and believe that I'll be able to run the 100m within 10.21 seconds, but only if I work really hard," Wen said.
The Shenzhen sprinter, also 20 years old, is among China's leading sprinters with a personal best of 10.27s.
He won the Doha Asian Games 4X100m relay last December and the Asian Athletics Grand Prix in Bangkok last July.
Source: China Daily/Xinhua