Gritty Zhang hammers down a bronze

Updated: 2011-09-05 07:55

By Lei Lei (China Daily)

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Gritty Zhang hammers down a bronze

China's Zhang Wenxiu celebrates winning her bronze medal in the women's hammer throw on Sunday. [Photo by Cui Meng / China Daily]

DAEGU, South Korea - Competing at her sixth World Championships, Zhang Wenxiu claimed a second bronze medal in Daegu. However, this campaign was more difficult.

Battling a serious knee injury during the first half of the year, Zhang, the bronze medalist at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan, struck her best form in June, when she threw a personal best of 75.65 meters in Germany.

Claiming the bronze in Daegu has now boosted her confidence substantially.

"Winning the bronze medal here was more difficult than the last time at the 2007 worlds as I have just recovered from my injury," said Zhang, who settled for third with a toss of 75.03m

"The injury affected my training and competition for a long time so I am very glad that I recovered in time for this event.

"I not only regained my previous form, but also improved my personal best in June. I'm very happy to stand on the podium again after four years."

In the women's hammer throw final on Sunday night, Russia's former world record holder Tatyana Lysenko defeated current holder Betty Heidler from Germany to claim her first World Championships title with 77.13m. Heidler threw 76.06m at her second last attempt to pass Zhang's best effort, which she made in her first attempt.

"I knew I was not as strong as the gold and silver medalists before the final, but anything can happen in a competition. I wanted to put pressure on them at the first attempt since everybody is nervous at that stage," said 25-year-old Zhang, who was also the bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Zhang started her athletics career in shot put at the age of 12 and then turned to the hammer throw a couple of years later.

"I knew nothing about hammer throw at the very beginning and I was very curious about it," Zhang said. "My coach said I was suited to it, so I continued with it. I like it very much."

At 15, Zhang set the Asian record of 66.30 in a national competition in 2001 and was crowned champion at the Asian Games in 2006 Doha, improving the Asian record to 74.15m. Reclaiming the bronze medal at the worlds, Zhang, like almost every other competitor at the championships, is now looking forward to next year's London Olympics.

"Everyone wants to win the gold at the Olympics, although I know I still have to catch up to the top (hammer throwers)," Zhang said.

"I believe anything is possible in competition and not only the strongest ones can win. I will continue to work hard and try to do my best in London."

China Daily