Gong Lijiao makes 2020 debut by throwing world-leading 19.70m

Two-time world shot put champion Gong Lijiao threw a world-leading 19.70m at a meeting in Beijing that was closed to spectators on Saturday. 

The meeting, hosted by Beijing Sport University, was the first indoor athletics competition staged by the Chinese Athletics Association this year. 

Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the World Athletics Indoor Championships which were originally scheduled to take place March 13-15 in the Chinese city of Nanjing, was postponed to March 19-21, 2021. The association said it hoped Saturday's meeting competition would help to keep athletes in competitive shape on the road to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Gong Lijiao finished fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. /VCG

Gong Lijiao finished fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. /VCG

Gong's performance was the third best ever indoors, trailing her 19.93m indoor best set in Chengdu in 2011 and a 19.88m effort in Beijing in 2013.

It was noticeable that the performance of 19.70m outranked all other athletes, even taking into account of all the outdoor competitions during the 2019-2020 season.

Having won a silver medal and a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics, respectively, Gong aims at Tokyo 2020 to realize her dream of taking the gold.