Chinese athletics star criticized for makeup in competition

By Hong Duy   May 4, 2024 | 05:00 pm PT
Wu Yanni has been criticized by the online community for wearing heavy makeup and wearing revealing clothes in the 100m hurdles at Diamond League events in China, where she finished last.

Wu is China's top 100m hurdles athlete, but had a lackluster run at the 2024 Diamond League, the 15th season of the annual outdoor athletics tournament series organized by the World Athletics.

Wu Yanni at the 2024 Diamond League. Photo taken from Baidu

Wu Yanni at the 2024 Diamond League. Photo taken from Baidu

At the Diamond League event taking place in Xiamen on April 20, Wu finished last among the 10 finalists at 13.4 seconds. Finishing first was Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico with 12.45 seconds.

At the Diamond League event in Shanghai on April 27, Wu also finished last with 13.15 seconds.

Coming in first for the second time in a row for this content was Camacho-Quinn with 12.63 seconds.

On the Chinese social network Weibo, many Chinese fans criticized Wu for wearing heavy makeup, necklaces, rings, bracelets, watches, manicures and fake eyelashes during the Diamond League. Some people even compared her performance to a "catwalk", and praised the cameramen and photographers for "only focusing on the competition and real athletes."

The fact that Wu wore a tight one-piece outfit with her bare back exposed during competition also drew criticism.

"She doesn't care about the results, she just likes to wear overly sexy outfits. Her results are poor and she's only good at drawing attention with other things," one user commented.

Some other opinions expressed sympathy, saying that at the age of 27 and without much time or ability to improve her form, Wu is taking advantage of attending major tournaments to increase her commercial appeal.

However, despite not performing well at the Diamond League, Yanni still rose to 39th in the world and is the highest-ranked Chinese athlete in the women's 100m hurdles. Behind her is Lin Yuwei, who’s 43rd in the world and did not participate in the Diamond League.

Later this month, Wu will continue to be the only Chinese athlete qualified for participation in the 2024 Kinami Michitaka in Japan at the women's 100m hurdles event. She will face many Japanese elites, such as Asuka Terada, last year's Japanese champion, Yumi Tanaka, the Asian indoor 60m hurdles record holder, and Mako Fukube, who broke the national record in Japan.

Many have also supported and encouraged Wu’s trials and tribulations.

"Competing alone in a foreign country and facing a lot of pressure, Yanni's courage is truly commendable. This shows her courage and strong mentality to face the challenges," news site Page 163 commented, praising Wu for being braver than Lin, who will not attend the tournament in Japan.

Wu, 26, born in Sichuan, began her hurdles career in Neijiang before moving to Beijing Sports University. She was dubbed "China’s athletics goddess" and became famous on social media thanks to her outgoing personality and multiple tattoos, which she, and her fans, believe symbolize her confidence.

go to top