Swimming ace Qin breaks Games record as skateboarder, 9, has 'fun'
AFP | Hangzhou
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Swimming sensation Qin Haiyang added another title to his name to inflate China's already bulging gold-medal haul on Monday at the Asian Games, while a nine-year-old skateboarder melted hearts.
The hosts enjoyed success in gymnastics, fencing, rowing, shooting, taekwondo and mountain biking to top the medals table in Hangzhou with 39 golds at the end of the second full day of action.
South Korea and Japan are their closest competitors with a distant 10 and five golds respectively.
China romped to all seven titles on the opening day of swimming on Sunday in an ominous display ahead of next summer's Paris Olympics, but they did not have it all their own way a day later.
South Korea's Ji Yu-chan set a new Asian Games record in the men's 50m freestyle of 21.72secs in a shock win ahead of Hong Kong's Ian Ho (21.87) and teenage Chinese star Pan Zhanle (21.92).
Olympic silver medallist Siobhan Haughey clinched Hong Kong's first Asian Games swimming gold ever with an emphatic victory in the 200m freestyle in a sizzling 1min 54.12sec, another Games record.
"It's very special," she said.
South Korea's night got even better when they took gold ahead of the hosts in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay in another surprise.
The other four races all went the way of China's swimmers, with the hulking 24-year-old Qin adding Games 100m breaststroke gold to his recent world title.
Qin, also the 50m and 200m world champion, romped home in a new Games-record time of 57.76secs, a gaping 1.33sec ahead of teammate Yan Zibei.
But don't call him the "Breaststroke Prince".
"Maybe just call me a breaststroke swimmer," he said modestly.
The hosts rounded off another dominant day with gold ahead of Japan in the women's team event of the artistic gymnastics.
"Whilst in the match we both cheered each other on and we respect each other," Chinese gymnast Zhang Xinyi said of regional rivals Japan.
- 'So fun!' -
World records fell in shooting with India and China both displaying pinpoint precision.
The Indian trio of Divyansh Panwar, Rudrankksh Patil and Aishwary Tomar blew away the field with a new world best to win the men's 10m air rifle team event.
It was India's first gold of these Games and they doubled it in the afternoon when they defeated Sri Lanka in the women's final by 19 runs on their Games cricket debut.
"It's a gold medal for the whole of India," said batter Richa Ghosh.
In skateboarding, Mazel Paris Alegado probably ought to have been in primary school, but instead she was in the "women's" park final.
Thought to be the youngest athlete at the Games and representing the Philippines, she just about avoided the wooden spoon by coming seventh out of eight.
Japan's Hinano Kusaki, a comparative veteran at 15, won gold. China's Chen Ye, who is the same age, won the men's event.
Alegado, who turned nine in March and reportedly comes from California, said she got into skateboarding when she saw her brother doing it while they were at a cousin's house.
Asked what it was like to take part in a major international competition, Alegado said: "I was so excited because I was about to skate the Asian Games -- and I just did, so it was so fun!"
North Korea, competing in their first major international sporting event since the pandemic, added silvers in men's team shooting and women's judo to their lone bronze.
Away from the action, between 150 and 200 athletes have been tested for doping, the Olympic Council of Asia said, with no positive results.