Chinese men's team secure final berth in 4x100m relay at worlds
Zhang Peimeng (2nd R) and Su Bingtian (1st R) of Team China are seen during Men's 4x100m Relay Heats on Day 9 of the 2017 IAAF World Championships at London Stadium in London, Britain, on August 12, 2017. [Photo: Xinhua/Wang Lili]
The Chinese men's team breezed through the 4x100m relay heats among group top three for a final spot, while their women's counterparts suffered a disqualification for a devastating takeover turnover between the second and third batons at the IAAF World Championships in London on Saturday.
Wu Zhiqiang, Xie Zhenye, Su Bingtian and Zhang Peimeng combined for a title for the Chinese team in the Monaco meet of IAAF Diamond League in July. However, Xie suffered injury to his left thigh in 100m semi-finals in London, posing uncertainties for the Chinese team's roster.
Xie felt OK about his physical condition in Saturday's pre-game training, and the Chinese team could dispatch their strongest squad for the relay.
The quartet clocked 38.20 seconds to sit third in the group and secure an automatic spot in Saturday evening's final.
Xie's attendance was a huge boost for his teammates, as Su and Zhang did feel themselves.
"It was not quite easy for Xie to decide to participate in the race," said Su. "This squad has been maintained over the past several years. If he had missed out the race, we would have felt a bit down in our morale."
Xie immediately went back to the athletes' zone for ice bags for treatment.
"We had great faith in him. When hearing that he could feature in the race, I felt pretty relieved," Zhang pointed out.
For himself, a 30-year-old veteran, Zhang expected a perfect finish in the final.
"I will spare no efforts for a medal for my team in the final, and enjoy my last show in world tournaments as well," he commented.
Wu triumphed in Monaco in his international debut. He reckoned that the team still had room for improvement in the final.
"We believe that we can still make history," said Wu.
However, it was a disappointing journey for Chinese women's relay team, as a big turnover occurred between Wei Yongli, the second baton, and her follower Ge Manqi.
Wei and Ge failed to pass the baton in the takeover zone, triggering a disqualification for the team although they managed to finish the race.
Ge could not hold back tears for her terrible mistake in the takeover.
"She is a young athlete without much experience in world events, and it can be understood. I hope that everybody can have confidence in us in the future," said Wei.
Usain Bolt, eight-time Olympic champion, guided Jamaica to finish the race at 37.95 seconds in his swan song of a glittering career.
His arch rival Justin Gatlin, 100m champion in London, could expect another title as the United States led the heats with a world leading time of 37.70 seconds.