An 18-year-old university student qualified for next year’s London Olympics in the long jump with a leap of 8.11m at a track and field competition in Taichung yesterday.
The jump by Lin Ching-hsuan of Fujen Catholic University met the 8.1m B standard for Olympic qualification set by the International Association of Athletics Federations last month, making him Taiwan’s first track and field athlete to qualify for the London Games.
“I’ve just given myself the best birthday gift,” said Lin, who will soon turn 19.
Athletes hoping to reach the Olympics must meet either an A or B standard in their particular event. No more than three athletes can represent a country in any particular event and at least one per country can qualify based on the less rigorous B standard.
The A standard in the long jump for men is 8.2m.
Lin became only the third Taiwanese athlete to break the 8m barrier and his distance of 8.11m was the third-best in the country’s history.
Nai Hui-fang holds the national record with a jump of 8.34m at the East Asian Games in Shanghai in 1993. The only other jump greater than Lin’s was an 8.16m effort by Chao Chih-kuo at the National College and University Games in 1995.
The 1.68m tall Lin’s previous best came at the Asian Youth Track and Field Championships last year, where he won gold with a jump of 7.94m.
Track and field is traditionally one of Taiwan’s weakest events in international sporting competitions. The country has not won an Olympic track and field medal since 1968, when Chi Cheng won a bronze medal in the 80m hurdles.