China are simply relentless in their domination of the Asian Games.
At the games five years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia, the country won 132 gold medals and 287 medals overall. This time, into Day X, China have already broken their mark for gold medals and is very close to matching the overall total from five years ago.
With 290 gold medals awarded, China has won almost half — 147. Their overall total stood at 270, just short of the 287 mark set in 2018.
Two hurdlers were crowned champions after a photo finish on Monday while North Korea doubled down in record-breaking style in weightlifting.
A South Korean roller-skater was left in anguish, however, after an early celebration cost his team gold in a relay event.
Japan’s Shunya Takayama and Kuwaiti runner Yaqoub Alyouha were both awarded gold in the men’s 110 metres hurdles, officials unable to separate them after they crossed in 13.41 seconds at the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium.
Takayama, who took bronze in the event at the previous Asian Games in Jakarta, said he felt lucky to share the title after hitting hurdles in the race.
“To get two gold medals, with another athlete, makes me twice as happy,” he said
Alyouha admitted to a nervous wait before the result was confirmed.
“This is very rare in our line of work,” he said. “Honestly? My blood ran cold.”
North Korea’s record-shattering performances continued in the weightlifting where Kim Il Gyong set a world mark in the snatch (111kg) on the way to winning the women’s 59-kg division.
The 20-year-old became the reclusive east Asian nation’s third female weightlifter to get into the world-record books in Hangzhou where the team is competing in their first international competition since before the pandemic.
Ri Song Gum and Kang Hyong Yong set records in winning gold in the 49-kg and 55-kg divisions, respectively, on Saturday.
North Korea have been deemed non-compliant by the World Anti-Doping Agency for years and their entry into an Olympic weightlifting qualifying tournament in Cuba earlier this year caused an uproar among rival nations, who complained their athletes were not subjected to the same testing.
The North Koreans ended up skipping Cuba and will not compete at the Paris Olympics.
Red faces for S. Korea
Roller-skater Jung Cheol-won was left red-faced when he celebrated too early in the 3,000m relay race, costing South Korea the gold.
The 27-year-old eased up and raised his arms near the finish, allowing Taiwan’s Huang Yu-Lin to pip him on the line.
Taiwan won the gold by 0.01 seconds.
“I made a rather big mistake,” said Jung. “I am very sorry.”
D. Gukesh. File photo
Mixed fortunes for chess teams
India men crushed Kyrgyzstan 3.5-0.5 while the women tasted their first defeat in the fourth round of the chess competition of the Asian Games here on Monday.
While the top-seeded men’s team saw their top players D. Gukesh, Vidit Gujrathi and P Harikrishna register victories, Arjun Erigaisi could only manage a draw in his match.
Indian No.1 Gukesh got past Eldiiar Orozbaev and Gujrathi put it across Tologon Tegin Semetei on the top two boards while the experienced Harikrishna scored over Erzhan Zhakshylykov on board four.
Erigaisi (Elo 2712), who has not been at his best, was held to a draw by lower-rated Ruslan Sezdbekov (Elo 2261) on the third board.
At the end of four rounds, Iran are on top with four wins and 8 match points while India are second with 7 match points (3 wins and a draw).
The second-seeded Indian women were up against the top-seeded Chinese team and lost 1.5-2.5.
Rameshbabu Vaishali’s loss to Zhongyi Tan proved crucial as the other three games ended in a stalemate.
The top-ranked Indian woman Koneru Humpy held former world champion Yifan Hou while D Harika shared honours with Jiner Zhou.
The game between Vantika Agarwal and Mo Zhai, too, ended in a draw but Tan’s victory over Vaishali proved decisive.
China jumped to the top of the standings with 7 match points (3 wins and a loss) while India is equal on six match points with Kazakhstan after four rounds.