Asian Games: China's Zhang eyes Paris after sensational performance

Zhang, who has already claimed the 200m fly crown in Hangzhou to go with her Olympic gold, surged to the wall in a new Games-record 55.86sec

By AFP

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China's Zhang Yufei in action during the women's 100m butterfly final. — Reuters
China's Zhang Yufei in action during the women's 100m butterfly final. — Reuters

Published: Wed 27 Sep 2023, 10:45 PM

Last updated: Wed 27 Sep 2023, 10:46 PM

World champion swimmer Zhang Yufei sent a major message to her Paris 2024 rivals on Wednesday at the Asian Games as Nepal smashed multiple records in cricket.

Hosts China lead the medals table with 76 golds, far ahead of South Korea (19) and Japan (15), after adding titles in a range of sports from artistic gymnastics and chess to beach volleyball and swimming.


The home nation and Zhang in particular have been in ominous form in the pool in Hangzhou, with the Paris Olympics coming up fast, just 10 months away.

The 25-year-old Zhang blasted the fastest time of the year to easily win the 100m butterfly gold, then helped China to come within a whisker of shattering the 4x100m mixed medley relay world record.


Zhang, who has already claimed the 200m fly crown in Hangzhou to go with her Olympic gold, surged to the wall in a new Games-record 55.86sec.

That beat the 56.12 that earned her the world title in July, but she wasn't happy.

"It doesn't feel so good. This wasn't the record I wanted, I wanted the world record," she said.

"I was aiming for it because even if I couldn't break it, I wanted to come close."

Swedish great Sarah Sjostrom has held the world mark of 55.48 since the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Zhang suited up again for the relay, part of a powerhouse team featuring triple breaststroke world champion Qin Haiyang, backstroker Xu Jiayu and freestyler Yang Junxuan.

They clocked 3:37.73 -- the second fastest of all-time behind Britain's 3:37.58, set at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago.

China took home gold in four of the seven finals on the evening, with Japan (two) and South Korea (one) winning the others.

In hazy morning sunshine on day four of the Games, rampant Nepal rewrote the T20 international record books against bewildered part-timers Mongolia in a 273-run thumping in men's cricket.

Nepal bludgeoned 314-3 in their 20 overs, beating the previous highest T20 men's international innings of 278-3 by Afghanistan against Ireland in 2019.

Teenager Kushal Malla, batting number three, spearheaded the onslaught by crashing the fastest T20 international century, off 34 balls.

Among the other records they racked up, Dipendra Singh Airee hit a scarcely believable eight sixes in an unbeaten 52 off 10 balls.

The powerful 23-year-old raced to his fifty off nine balls, another T20 world record and one that should stand in perpetuity because it is mathematically impossible to reach the landmark any quicker.

Nepal's 26 sixes in the innings was also the best ever.

Mongolia, whose women's team were bowled out for just 15 at the Asian Games last week, were dismissed for only 41 in 13.1 overs.

Much sterner tests await for Nepal, with India and Pakistan both in the draw.

Indian shooters excel

Indian shooter Sift Kaur Samra set a new world record as she clinched gold in women's 50m rifle individual event.

Meanwhile, Ashi Chouksey bagged bronze in the same event. Ashi, Manini Kaushik and Sift also produced an excellent show in the 50m rifle 3 positions women's team event as India won silver.

India also clinched gold in the women's 25m pistol team event, as Manu Bhaker, Esha Singh and Rhythm Sangwan took the top rpize.

In another gold rush for hosts China, they won the women's and men's street finals in skateboarding thanks to a couple of teenagers.

The 16-year-old Zhang Jie triumphed in the men's and Cui Chenxi, just 13, won the women's.

But China did not have it all their own way as Japan won all three golds on offer on the day on the cycling track ahead of the hosts.

Japan sped to victory in women's and men's team pursuit, and in women's keirin.

Japan's Naoki Kojima said he and his teammates were celebrating well before they crossed the line in the men's team pursuit.


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