Li Yanfeng wins China's 1st world title in discus throw

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Li Yanfeng wins China's first world title in discus throw

Li Yanfeng of China celebrates after winning gold in the women's discus throw final at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, August 28, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

Chinese veteran Li Yanfeng maintained her great form of the season, earning her first world championship title on Sunday with 66.52 meters in the women's discus throw.

The reigning Asian Games champion set the winning mark in her second attempt, delivering the first Worlds' gold medal in field events for China since Huang Zhihong's victory in the women's shot put in 1993.

"I am already 32 and I have been waiting many years for this success. This was my dream and it just came true," an emotional Li told reporters at the post match press conference.

"My coach helped me a lot on my way to the gold medal, and I was expecting even better throws, over 67 meters or something. This medal will be written in the history as the first gold (for China) in this event," she added.

Germany's Nadine Muller took the silver medal with 65.97m while Cuba's Worlds and Olympic runner-up Yarelis Barrios produced her season best of 65.73m for a bronze.

The 25-year-old Muller, who leads the Diamond League rankings this season, was excited about the medal and was to have a great party to celebrate.

"This is awesome! Unbelievable emotions! I cannot really believe and realize it myself," she said. "Before the competition we tried to put expectations down saying that I wanted to be amongst the first six."

She went on to say that she had hoped to throw further than Li, but her legs got very heavy, but it was fortunate that nobody could throw better than her mark and she could keep the silver medal.

Li has demonstrated good form earlier this year when she promoted her personal best to 67.98m in Schonebeck on June 5, which is also the world's leading mark this year. In the Asian Games last year, she also posted a season's world leading mark of 66.18m to seal the victory.

Li, as a thrower for 17 years, was a late-boomer. She finished ninth and seventh respectively in Athens and Beijing Olympics, both with marks around 61m, but in China's National Games in October 2009, she improved her personal best by more than two meters to win by 66.04m.

Defending champion Dani Samuels ended up 10th with 59.14m. The Australian, 21-year-old then, produced a shocking result in the last World Championships in Berlin by improving her personal best by 2.5 meters to snatch the gold with 65.44 meters.

However, she came to Daegu with a moderate season best of 62.33m, and failed to make the top eight after three attempts.

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