China’s athletics association says a better-than-expected result at the Berlin world championships marks a “good start” to preparations for the 2012 London Olympics.

China’s haul of one gold, one silver, and two bronzes heartened Athletics Administration Director Du Zhaocai, who said it would take hard work to maintain that level of competitiveness.

“However, the results in Berlin were a good start for our preparations for the 2012 London Olympic Games,” Du was quoted as saying in the China Daily newspaper.

China’s medals came from Bai Xue’s gold in the woman’s marathon, Wang Hao’s silver in the men’s 20-kilometre walk, Liu Hong’s bronze in the 20-kilometre walk, and Gong Lijiao bronze in the women’s shot put.

The 20-year-old Bai returned to Beijing on Tuesday, saying she was pleased with her performance but “there are still some details to be improved upon for the future.”

China’s good showing in Berlin came despite the continued absence of Liu Xiang, a former world record holder and the defending world champion in the 110-metre hurdles. Liu walked off the track during his Beijing Olympic heat with a foot injury last year.

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