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Thai lifter breaks monopoly but China rumble on
Ossian Shine | December 05, 2006 12:04 IST
Elsewhere, however, the Chinese behemoth rumbled on, amassing medals to stretch further into the lead at the Dec. 1-15 sporting spectacle.
With 38, China has won more than half the 75 golds awarded so far. The next most successful nation is Japan with 12.
Japan's count was boosted by Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima who claimed his first major title in two years, winning gold in the men's 100m breaststroke.
South Korea lie third on seven golds, with Kazakhstan a surprise fourth with five -- three on the shooting range, one in the pool and one on the chess board.
Pawina Thongsuk's 142kg clean and jerk ended Thailand's 40-year wait for an Asian Games weightlifting gold and made her the first non-Chinese to win a title in the three days at the Al-Dana banqueting hall.
"I've been at the Asian Games three times and this is my first gold medal so I'm very pleased," said Pawina, who completed a set of Olympic, world championships, Asian championships, Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games gold medals.
At Sport City, badminton's most heated rivalry hit the courts again when world number one Lin Dan and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat clashed for the second time in three days.
In another intense battle, Hidayat, who was docked ranking points and prize money after storming out mid-match against Lin in August, again lost to his Chinese rival in the men's team semi-final.
There were no histrionics this time, just breathtaking badminton, with Lin winning 22-20 13-21 21-12.
The pair's expected meeting in the men's singles later this week is eagerly anticipated.
Harem Ali won Iraq's first Asian Games medal for 20 years when he clinched bronze in the men's lightweight weightlifting.
Iraq were banished from the Asian Games after the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the 21-year-old Kurd is the first Iraqi to stand on a podium at the continental event since Seoul in 1986.
"We wanted to wipe away tears from Iraqi faces and make them happy, that was our main aim," said Ali's coach Kadir Basha, who was struggling to hold back his own tears of joy.
Japan's shuttlers also had plenty to smile about when they broke a 24-year hoodoo to reach the final of the women's team event for only the second time in Games history.
The Japanese thumped Singapore 3-0, but the Singaporeans can console themselves with bronze -- their first Asian Games medal for women's team badminton.
Qatar picked up their first medal of the Games when their running target shooters finished third in the women's team event.
Less impressive was the fact they also finished last of the three teams entered.
World champion gymnast Yang Wei gave China an eighth successive men's all-around title when he defended the crown he won at Pusan in 2002.
Yang's victory gave him a sixth gold medal at the Asian Games and ninth medal overall.
Thai teen Thanyalak Chotpaibunsin helped earn the kingdom its first shooting gold medal of Games.
The 16-year-old Chiang Mai schoolgirl grabbed gold in the 50m rifle prone team event, and also bagged silver in the individual competition.
China and Kazakhstan each grabbed two more golds at the range, giving the Chinese 12 of the 18 titles up for grabs so far, with four days left in the competition.