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China smash through 160 mark in golds
Ossian Shine | December 15, 2006 10:32 IST
Yuan Xiaochao's gold in the Chinese martial art of wushu pushed them beyond their 2002 mark of 150 and they continued racking up the golds throughout the day.
The world's most populous nation leads the medals table by some distance with 164 -- second-placed South Korea are more than 100 behind.
At the end of the penultimate day of competition the Koreans had 58. Japan were third with 50 before it trailed off to fourth-placed Kazakhstan's 23.
With just two medals up for grabs on the final day -- men's soccer and basketball -- China cannot beat their Games record of 183, which they achieved on home soil in Beijing 16 years ago.
At the pool, China's divers once again reigned supreme after Lin Yue and Wang Zin helped complete a clean sweep of the gold medals.
Lin and Wang turned out near-flawless displays to win the men's and women's 10m platform events and take China's gold medal tally to 10 from all 10 events at the Hamed Aquatics Centre.
Fresh from her victory in the women's tennis singles, Zheng Jie claimed her second gold medal when she partnered Yan Zi in the women's doubles final to beat Taiwan's Chan Yung Jan and Chuang Chia Jung 6-1 7-6.
"This is the final so we were a little bit nervous, but we were able to keep up. It was a tight game," Yan admitted.
In basketball, China's women beat Taiwan 90-59.
China, who were playing their seventh Games final against a Taiwan team making their first appearance in a gold medal decider, won the title for a fourth time after triumphs in 1982, 1986 and 2002.
Team China did not have it all their way, however.
Taiwan staged a stunning recovery to shock them 10-7 in a softball semi-final.
"Small cerebral mistakes at the highest level of play really hurt you," Chinese coach Michael Bastian said. "We need to get a lot tougher."
China also failed in their bid to win their first Asian Games hockey gold when they lost to defending champions South Korea 3-1.
Both teams automatically qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games, though.
China's Korean coach Kim Sang-ryul said his side still had a long way to go. "We have the skill, but we need to learn how to play each match," he told reporters.
"The players need to learn how to maintain their form from the beginning to the end of the match."
Squash world number one Nicol David stormed to gold, beating Hong Kong's Chiu Wing Yin 9-0 9-3 9-3 in 30 minutes for Malaysia's 200th gold in Games history.
"It was a good match and I feel really ecstatic. It was the last day of the last tournament of the year and there was so much pressure on both girls leading into the game," she said.
"It has been a great year and a great way to finish off by winning here."
Chiu was magnanimous in defeat.
"She is so much better than me. Her speed and strength were superior, so I couldn't perform to my full potential," she said.
South Korea clinched the men's madison and keirin titles at the velodrome to top the track cycling charts.
The Koreans won five track cycling golds, one more than China.
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