Incheon: China proved they are still the Asian Games gold standard in the pool by scooping six swimming titles on Tuesday at the 17th Asiad. On the fourth day of competition in Incheon, China’s sleek swimmers and sharp shooters helped them reach the 40 gold medal mark, while hosts South Korea kept their noses in front of fierce rivals Japan.
South Korea, who are aiming to finish runner-up to China for a fifth straight Games and win 90 gold medals, have earned 19 so far, three more than third-placed Japan.
Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen of China showed their Olympic class by cruising to victory while China also offered a sneak peek of their next wave of potential champions with teenager Shen Duo picking up her third gold and Chen Xinyi, Fu Yuanhui and Ning Zetao getting their first. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect night in the pool for China came in the men’s 200m breaststroke, where Kazakhstan teenager Dmitry Balandin slashed nearly six seconds off his best time to win gold.
“I’m tired,” said Balandin. “But today was my best day. I am happy this time.” The same situation played out at the Ongnyeon International Shooting Range, where the Kazakh women’s trap team prevented a Chinese clean sweep.
While China continues to gorge on gold, Thailand savoured their first success when Yannaphon Larp Apharat won the men’s bowling singles title, and Abdullah Kh Kh H M Almezayen struck gold for Kuwait in the men’s squash final.
On the women’s side, Malaysia’s Nicol David captured her fourth singles title, 16 years after winning her first in Bangkok in 1998, and hinted that squash’s campaign to get on the Olympic programme in 2020 might not be dead after all. “Maybe there’s a chance or not, we just have to wait and see,” the 31-year-old said. “I hope to be involved some way to help the sport get in, even if I’m not competing anymore. I just want to see a squash player on the medal podium at the Olympics.”
North Korean weightlifters are becoming more used to the podium, and after winning three Olympic gold medals in London two years ago, they have already won three golds and broken three world records in South Korea.
The secret to that success?
“Have you ever heard that an egg can break a stone?” Om Yun Chol asked journalists at a news conference on Tuesday.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had the answer, he said. “The respected marshal has told us that if we add an idea to an egg... we can break the stone with that egg.” While North Korean lifters are thriving on love, eggs and ideas, Taiwan’s Lin Tzu Chi benefited from having a strong rival push her all the way in the -63kg category.
Lin set world records in the clean and jerk and overall lift on her way to winning gold and thanked Chinese rival Deng Wei for spurring her on. “Thank you, China, for being a good enemy that helped me try harder,” she said at a media conference. South Korea enjoyed the perfect end to the action on Tuesday when their men’s badminton team stunned China to take gold.
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