Sometimes good isn't good enough

Updated: 2011-09-03 07:49

By Lei Lei (China Daily)

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DAEGU, South Korea - Zhang Guowei isn't just here for the experience.

The Chinese 20-year-old high jumper made the finals in his debut at the World Athletics Championships.

But he's not the kind of guy who's going to chalk that up as good enough.

Reaching ever higher is the most enjoyable part of the sport, he said. "I'm not satisfied with my performance at the Worlds," Zhang said. "My performance was just so-so - I didn't reach my goal."

Zhang cleared a personal best of 2.31 meters to reach the final, where he ranked 10th of 12.

He wouldn't say how high he'd hoped to jump.

"I gave eight points out of ten to myself," he said. "I did well in the qualification, but didn't perform well in the final."

Zhang failed to clear 2.29m in the final, remaining at 2.25m.

Jesse Williams from the US won the gold at 2.35m, followed by Aleksey Dmitrik of Russia.

Zhang wan't accustomed to starting at 2.20m in the final - in Chinese national competitions, the starting height is always around 1.90m.

"Starting from the 2.16m in the qualification was very difficult to me, and I didn't expect that the starting point at the final would be 2.20," said Zhang, who cleared 2.20m in his second attempt.

"I didn't start the competition well, and I felt a little bit scared at the beginning, but when I conquered 2.20m, I knew that I could make it. I believe it won't be a problem for me any more."

After taking up the sport just four years ago, Zhang stepped on the world stage a year and a half ago.

"I love high jump, since it makes me challenge one height after another," Zhang said. "I enjoy the feeling of going up step by step. It's just like I'm flying."

Zhang said he's realized this week where his weak points are, and is aiming to become more consistent.

"This is still big gap between me and the world's top jumpers - I lag behind in the aspects of strength, speed and bouncing ability, as well as techniques," he said.

"The instability of the techniques is my weakest point. I have to make great progress."

China's national high jump record is 2.39m, set by Zhu Jianhua in 1984.

Zhang's long-term goal is to rewrite that record, but to be realistic, he has to keep working harder and improve gradually.

"Of course I want to break the national record, but first of all, I have to be strong enough to do that," he said. "I want to stablize my result at 2.31 and then strive for further improvement step by step."

Although he's passed the "A" standard for the Olympics, Zhang has not secured a ticket for the 2012 Games yet.

"I don't want to think too much about the Olympics, but doing well in the training," he said. "I'm just 20 years' old. I'm still young. I will have a lot more competitions in the future."

China Daily