The javelin rises above the track in a graceful arc and lands beautifully outside the 80-meter line. At last year’s Summer Universiade, held in Gwangju, South Korea, Huang Shih-feng (黃士峰), a student in the Graduate Institute of Sports Training at the University of Taipei (台北市立大學競技運動訓練研究所), earned a silver medal for this throw. He says that at the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade he hopes to make up for the regret of not achieving a gold medal.
Huang is the national record holder for the men’s javelin throw. At a young age, he was already producing brilliant results. He has won three gold medals at the World School Athletics Championship in Estonia, World Youth Championships in Athletics in Italy, and Gymnasiade in Doha, Qatar, respectively, and has also been recognized with Taiwan’s Sports Elite Award for Best Male Athlete.
In 2013, at the Kaohsiung Cup National Middle School Track and Field Competition and Open Tournament, he broke the national record with a throw of 79.84 meters. At the end of that year, at the Tianjin East Asian Games, he threw the javelin 82.11 meters, once again breaking the national record and this time his own record as well. Although he came across one occasion in which he was not at his best, at last year’s Gwangju Summer Universiade he quickly recovered to give another brilliant performance.
A Difference of 44 Centimeters – The Regret of Gwangju
On his second attempt at last year’s Gwangju Summer Universiade, Huang threw his javelin 81.27 meters. During the competition he had split a toenail on his left foot, causing him pain when he ran, and in the end a distance of only 44 centimeters separated him from the gold. Huang says that, “I felt that I could have done better. I didn’t use all of my strength on the last few throws.”
At the Gwangju Summer Universiade, the winner of the men’s javelin throw was decided in the first two throws. A competitor from Estonia set the benchmark for the gold medal on his first throw. Huang won silver with his second throw. The audience tensed up as each throw was made, watching the beautiful arching patterns. It was a very exciting competition.
Best Male Athlete of 2015 – Going All Out for the Rio Olympic Games and Taipei Summer Universiade
Huang says that in June last year at the Asian Athletics Championships in Wuhan, China, although his performance was not as good as at the Summer Universiade, he still threw his javelin 79.74 meters to clinch the gold and qualif y for a place in the IAAF World Championships in Beijing. He also has the opportunity to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. However, what is unimaginable is that at the IAAF World Championships in August, Huang was off his game. Out of three throws, two were disqualified due to rule violations. The only successful throw reached a distance of 75.72 meters. Even with this setback at the IAAF World Championships, his impressive record over the full year earned him the 2015 Sports Elite Award for Best Male Athlete.
This year, Huang is working hard to meet the Olympic qualif ying standard of 83 meters. In the first half of the year there are five Olympic qualifying competitions. “I hope that I can meet the Olympic qualifying standard of 83 meters,” he says, “then fully devote myself to preparing for the Rio Olympic Games, and after that the Taipei Summer Universiade next year.” Chinese-Taipei javelin coach Xue Shengrong (薛聖融) says that Huang has consistently achieved a distance of over 80 meters, especially during practice sessions. However, practice and competition are different, and it is necessary to adapt to changing circumstances. “At the Taipei Summer Universiade,” Xue says, “he will be familiar with the climate, surroundings and people. I think that Shih-feng will be able to perform even better.”
Huang has gained experience in major competitions, and his technique has matured. He is considered one of the favorites for a medal at the Taipei Summer Universiade. Having already participated in two Universiades, he hopes that he can better his performance in front of his home crowd, and that this third time participating in a Universiade will be the most memorable.
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