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China rack up golds but 'Super Dan' fails them
December 10, 2006 12:19 IST
China burst through triple figures for gold medals at the Asian Games on Saturday but their hot favourite for the badminton title Lin Dan was out-fought and out-foxed in a highly charged men's final.
The powerhouse's soccer team was also shown the exit, beaten in the quarter-finals by Iran 8-7 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
Still, though, China continued to ease towards a record haul of golds. In the last Games in Busan, South Korea, they won 150. Their record is 183 from Beijing in 1990.
By late Saturday evening the Chinese had amassed 103 golds from 244 on offer.
Japan were in second spot with 33 with South Korea on 27.
World number one Lin had dearly wanted to add to China's haul but came up short in a pressure-pot environment.
"In the first and second games I wasn't able to take the chances," he told reporters.
"In the second game I felt a lot of pressure, I was nervous," the 23-year-old said. "He has more experience than me in playing at these big events."
That experience proved key as 25-year-old Hidayat peaked at all the right times in front of his raucous fans.
The Olympic champion, who had been docked ranking points and prize money after storming out mid-match against Lin in August, had lost twice to the world number one in other events earlier in the Games but learnt from his lesson and wreaked revenge.
"I couldn't match him in endurance so I tried a different tactic today," the laid-back Indonesian said. "I think I played all right.
"I had lost to Lin in the team event so it was on my mind... that's why I wanted to play well today."
Hidayat had fanned the flames of their fierce rivalry before the Games by describing Lin as "arrogant", and the pair shook hands only briefly at the end of the match.
"It is okay," Hidayat said with a shrug. "We don't talk.
"He doesn't speak English and I don't understand Mandarin."
Shortly after Lin was defeated, the honour of racking up China's 100th gold went to their eight-woman synchronised swimming team who beat Japan into silver place at the Hamad Aquatic Centre.
"We have been practising this routine for one year," smiled team member Zhang Xiaohuan.
In the athletics Yahya Hassan Habeeb kept the men's 100m title in Saudi hands for a second successive Games with a time of 10.32, just holding off Naoki Tsukahara of Japan who ran 10.34. Thailand's Wachara Sondee took bronze in 10.39.
"After Jamal Al Saffar won in Pusan that gave me some confidence but it was also pressure because we feel like the 100m gold is a Saudi medal," said the 22-year-old, who stands just 1.65m tall.
Maryam Yusuf Jamal became the second East African import to win track gold for Bahrain in two days with victory in the women's 800m.
The Ethiopian-born Jamal struck out on her own just before the bell to come home in 2:01.81.
"I won because I ran according to my plan and I am happy for winning the gold medal," said the 22-year-old.
Kenyan-born Tareq Mubarak Salem won the men's 3,000m steeplechase on Friday for Bahrain's first gold of the Games.
Earlier, doping had left its stain on the Games when organisers announced that a female weightlifter from Myanmar had failed a drugs test and been disqualified.
Than Kyi Kyi, who had finished fourth in the 48kg category event, tested positive for the banned diuretic furosemide, marking the first failed test of the 15th Games.
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