Chi Cheng The Greatest Asian Sprinter of All Time

>> August 10, 2011

Bronze from the 1968 Olympics
Chi Cheng is no doubt, the greatest Asian female sprinter of all-time. She conquered the World during her prime by producing seven World records over 100 yards, 100 meters, 200 meters, 220 yards, 100m hurdles. Within 1964 to 1970, she created a total of 44 Asian records. Chi Cheng's 100 yards record 10.10s set in Portland on 13 June 1970 lasted almost 40 years and only beaten by Veronica Campbell (9.91s) on 31 May 2010. She also won 77 gold medals in international competitions.

At age of 18 in 1962, she competed at a provincial games in Taiwan and breaks 4 national records. The records were from 80m hurdles (11.9s), High Jump (1.57m), Long Jump (5.58m) and Pentathlon (4,142pts).

Following the achievements she received scholarship from the government to study and training at the United States in February 1963. In the USA, she guided by coach Vincent Reel (said to be her husband ??) and has improved very fast. She participated in her second Olympics in 1964 at Tokyo. However, she didn't win any medal after finished 17th at heptathlon in 4,449pts and 11.1s at 80m hurdles.

Nevertheless, in 1968 Olympics at Mexico City, she won bronze medal from the 80m hurdles in a time of 10.51s, merely behind Australians Pam Kilborn (10.46s) and Maureen Caird (10.39s). She also entered the 100m dash and had done 11.4s during the semifinals before finished seventh in the finals in 11.5s. Wyomia Tyus won the final race in a World record time of 11.0s. A month before the games she equaled the previous 100m WR of 11.2s in Denver, USA, although she pulled her muscles (both legs) and had a knee surgery in 1967.

Chi Cheng's most successful year was in 1970. She set five World outdoor records, at 100 meters (11.0s), 200 meters (22.4s), 100m low hurdles (12.8s), 100 yards (10.0s) and 220 yards (22.6s). She also won 66 medals at outdoor events and 21 at indoor events. During the 1969-1970, out of 154 events (sprints, hurdles, long jump, relays) entered, she only lost once.

She was expected by coaches, writers, journalists, commentators, and fans to win at least one gold medal at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Obviously she has a great chance to do so in 100m or 100m hurdles. But unexpectedly, she did not compete due to injury setbacks and had to undergo surgery, in which reportedly "not successful" and forced her to retire earlier.

Chi Cheng has won two gold medals from two the Asian Games. In the 1966 Asian Games in Bangkok, she leaped 5.95m in long jump to win the gold medal. At the 1970 Asian Games, also held in Bangkok, she won the century dash in 11.6s, half of a second ahead of silver medalist. She ran the 400m hurdles but stopped at 330m due to a severe thigh cramp.

Her stunning performances brought her many honours in 1971. She has been named "Athlete of the Year" by the Track and Field World and at the same time voted as "Global Athlete of the Year" by the Associated Press. In 2000, Che Ching was voted "Female Asian Athlete of The Twentieth Century" by the Asian Athletics Association as well as described by the IAAF as "Asia's Legendary Female Sprinter".

Chi Cheng's Biodata / Profile

Full Name: Chi Cheng
Nationality: Chinese Taipei / Taiwan
Born: 15 March 1944, Hsin-chu County, Taiwan
Height: 1.72m (5-8)
Weight: 136 pounds (62kg)
College: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California
Club: Los Angeles Track Club
Coaches: S.S.Kwan (Junior- at Taiwan), Vincent Reel, 1914-1999 (Senior- at California, USA)

Appearance at:
Olympic Games: Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964, Mexico City 1968
Asian Games: Bangkok 1966, Mexico City 1968

Personal Bests:
60 yards: 6.5i (Toronto CAN, 05.02.1970)
100 yards: 10.0h / 10.10 (Portland USA, 13.06.1970)
100 meters: 11.22s +1.9 (Vienna AUT, 18.07.1970)
200 meters: 22.62s +0.8 (Munich GER, 12.07.1970)
220 yards: 22.4s (Los Angeles USA, 04.07.1970)
440 yards: 52.5s (Orange USA, 20.06.1970)
50 m hurdles: 6.9i (Vancouver CAN, 21.02.70)
60 y hurdles: 7.6i (New York USA, 1970)
80 m hurdles: 10.51s (Ciudad de Mexico MEX, 10.10.1968)
100 m hurles: 12.93s 0.0 (Munich GER, 12.07.70)
High Jump: 1.585m (Westminster USA, 18.05.1963)
Long Jump: 6.35m (Claremont USA, 28.03.1970) & 6.42i (New York USA, 17.02.1970)

References / recommended reading
Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women: The Twentieth Century 1912-2000
Asian Athletics All-Time Rankings as at 2000 (contact: HHubbeling@t-online.de)
The International Track & Field Annual

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