China's pole vaulter Li Ling sticks to faith for higher

(Xinhua) 15:37, September 23, 2021

XI'AN, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Asian record holder Li Ling cleared 4.70 meters to win the women's pole vault at China's 14th National Games here on Wednesday, but for her, breaking her own record is much more appealing and challenging.

At 2019 IAAF Shanghai Diamond League, Li set the Asian mark as she cleared 4.72 meters, and the record has never been improved since then. In the same year, Li went abroad twice to learn from coach Vitaly Petrov, who trained pole vaulters like Yelena Isinbayeva and Rio Olympic champion Da Silva.

A month ago, Li didn't enter the final at Tokyo 2020. Due to the postponement caused by the rain, Li failed to jump over 4.55 meters.

"This is a rough year, I've had some strains, it's hard for me to show my technique entirely on the field," said Li.

At the National Games, after clearing 4.70 meters, Li secured the gold medal. Aiming to break the Asian record, she was challenged for a height of 4.75 meters.

"During training, I performed well, but in the competition, it's another story. I want to make it so badly so I push myself too hard," said Li.

In her first attempt of 4.75 meters, Li could not even take off properly. The second time, she failed again. She went to her coach for advice for about 30 seconds, then returned to the field, lay down for a short rest.

The whole venue was in silence, audiences were all holding their breath and waiting for Li's last jump. When there were about three and a half minutes left in the countdown, Li got up, picked up the pole, she was all set.

With the sighs from the audience, Li ended her game with a national champion but failing to break the Asian record.

"I was keeping saying the technical essentials to myself before the last try. I want to dedicate this gold medal to my coach, the plan and tactics are the keys," said Li.

Another medalist was Li's teammate from Zhejiang Province. Li is happy to see her hometown Zhejiang can be in the leading position in the women's pole vault in China.

"I'm looking forward to the 2022 Asian Games which will be held in Zhejiang. I think our team will make good grades then," said Li.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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