HUANGSHAN, China, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Olympic silver medalist Qieyang Shijie of China raced to a second personal best time of 1:25:37 en route to taking her convincing 20km victory at the first leg of Chinese Race Walk Grand Prix here on Sunday.
The 28-year-old Qinghai native, who sits on top of the women's 20km race walk world rankings newly launched by the IAAF last month, built a comfortable sole lead early into the race and broke the tape in style with a world leading time of 1:25:37. It is the second time for Qieyang to dip under 1:26:00 and just 21 seconds shy of her career best mark set at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
World record holder Liu Hong, who just renewed the 50km world record on Saturday, chose to skip the race while world champion Yang Jiayu and world runner-up Lyu Xiuzhi both did not finish the race with their eyes on the World Championships qualifiers in Taicang two months later. The relatively unheralded Yang Liujing finished the distant second with a life-time best of 1:27:15. The 20-year-old Wu Quanming, who just started to compete in senior level this year, clocked 1:27:24 to finish third.
Asian Games champion Wang Kaihua held off Olympic silver medalist Cai Zelin to take the top honors in the men's 20km event in 1:19:01. Cai trailed 35 seconds to finish as the runner-up while Lu Xiaotong lagged 17 seconds further behind to finish third.