Yuan wins first gold of the games, China dominates

No prizes for guessing who won the first gold medal of the Guangzhou Asian Games: the script was well choreographed for Yuan Xiaochao and China.

By (AP)

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Published: Sat 13 Nov 2010, 7:53 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:01 AM

And that was just Act 1.

Wushu, the Chinese martial arts, offered the first of 28 gold medals Saturday and two-time world champion Yuan Xiaochao obliged by winning the changquan discipline in confident style before 10 a.m. on the first day of competition.

The Chinese won 18 of the next 27 finals, including all five in dance sport’s Asian Games debut, five of six on the shooting range, four of six in the pool, two each at both weightlifting and wushu and the men’s team event at gymnastics.

China has 28 medals overall, with 18 gold.

Japan and South Korea picked up four gold medals apiece, with Hong Kong’s Lee Waisze winning the first cycling medal, setting an Asian record time of 33.945 seconds to take gold in the women’s 500-meter time trial in an upset result over defending champion Guo Shuang of China.

There are 35 finals scheduled for Sunday, day two of competition.

The scene for the opening day was set early with the 22-year-old Yuan, an avid Bruce Lee and Jet Li fan who harbors ambitions of working in a kung-fu movie. But just not for the time being.

‘I feel very lucky to be able to compete for China’s first gold medal ... very happy to get that first gold medal,’ he said. ‘The win has a significant meaning for me. It is also a good way to make the world know China and Chinese Wushu.’

China topped the medal count at the last Asian Games in Doha with 166 gold medals, well clear of second-place South Korea’s 58. The host nation’s only medal target in Guangzhou, where 476 gold medals are at stake, is to surpass the 2006 totals.

Japan, third in the medal count at Doha, picked up gold and silver in the women’s triathlon — the first gold medal contested outdoors at Guangzhou — with Mariko Adachi leading teammate Akane Tsuchihashi across the finish line in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 45 seconds.

‘Now I feel very proud to get Japan’s first gold medal,’ Adachi said.

Hong Kong’s cycling gold was unexpected.

‘I expected her to get the silver,’ Lee’s coach Shen Jinkang Shen said, ‘but Guo is Lee’s idol and she always wants to beat her.’

‘My dream has come true. I’ve been longing for this medal,’ Lee said.

Japan and China shared the honors in the pool at Doha. So far this time, China leads 4-2. Takeshi Matsuda won the 200-meter butterfly and Yuya Morihata the 400 individual medley for Japan.

Japan was expected to dominate judo, but South Koreans won three golds on the mats on the first of four days of competition, including Hwang Hee-tae in the under-100 kilogram division and Kim Soo-whan in the over-100 category.

South Korea had earlier collected its first gold of the games at shooting, winning the 50-meter pistol men’s team even with 1,679 points to open the program.

That was a standout at the range, where Chinese shooter Yi Siling became the first multiple gold medalist of the games by winning the women’s 10-meter air rifle and the 10-meter air rifle team title.

Competition also got under way in cricket, which was making its debut at the Asian Games and was pushing for inclusion in the condensed 2014 sports program.

But most of the local attention was on wushu.

Yuan’s coaches had shielded him from the domestic media, which has closely followed his chances of claiming the first gold. Handlers had to hustle Yuan out of a news conference after he was mobbed by breathless reporters shouting questions.

He even missed the spectacular opening ceremony on Friday night, when athletes from all 45 competing countries were ferried down the Pearl River to an island venue for an extravagant show of fireworks and light.

‘To have the best competition I have to get rest,’ he said. ‘It’s mostly to help me relax.’

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