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Chinese smash records in Doha

December 04, 2006 11:40 IST
Rowers bobbed like corks in a jacuzzi while cyclists earned something of a reprieve as a wild desert wind swept through the Asian Games on Sunday.

Indoors, away from the elements, China continued to dominate the Dec. 1-15 sporting spectacle, racking up another haul of golds on day two of competition.

After two days of miserable, persistent rain, Doha dried up and bright sunshine at last bathed the 15th Asiad.

But while wet conditions no longer curtailed or postponed events, the swirling, gusty gales took their place as a natural hazard.

Organisers cut the length of the men's cycling road race on the Corniche by more than 40 km, believing the seafront high winds would have kept cyclists racing into the night.

The event, which was reduced from 199.7km to 156.4km, was won by Hong Kong's Wong Kam Po.

In the rowing events at West Bay Lagoon, north of Doha, competitors struggled to stay on track as the wind whipped up the water, pushing them to and fro.

"I have never seen water like this in my life," said India's Pravasini Dwibedy.

"These rough winds are not found in our country," mulled bemused Sri Lankan Kamal Chandara Kumarapperuma. "The wind was the worst experience."

ENDLESS LOVE

While the weather has been unpredictable, the nation guzzling up gold has been anything but, with China continuing to dominate the medals table.

After 47 gold medals were awarded in two days, 29 belonged to China. Japan lay in second spot with seven, with South Korea on four and Kazakhstan and Kuwait on two each.

Mongolia, Hong Kong and Malaysia are the only other teams to have a gold.

Olympic champion Chen Yanqing spearheaded China's charge by setting three world records in the women's lightweight weightlifting.

Chen took the snatch record from fellow Chinese Wang Li with a lift of 111 kg before a clean and jerk of 140 kg gave her a record competition total of 251.

"I feel really great," the 27-year-old student beamed.

World number two Ma Lin came from behind to beat South Korea's Oh Sang-eun and lead China to a fourth straight men's table tennis team gold and China's women clinched their ninth consecutive Asian Games artistic gymnastics team title.

NATIONAL ANTHEM

China accrued 239.400 points, with North Korea finishing 10.850 points behind for silver and Japan a distant third.

"Today, everybody did a good job. It's a joint effort to win a gold medal," said He Ning, China's joint top scorer with Zhou Zhuoru on 59.050.

Kuwait briefly silenced the Chinese national anthem at the medal ceremonies by claiming the men's trap team title in shooting. They were led by 24-year-old piano student Naser Meqlad, who also won the men's individual trap.

He beat India's Manavjit Singh Sandhu into silver and the world number one was far from pleased.

His main gripe? The weather.

"This is ridiculous," he stormed. "Too windy. How can I have a strategy in these windy conditions?"

In the pool, teenager Park Tae-hwan broke his own Asian record for the men's 200m freestyle to win South Korea's first swimming gold in a time of 1:47.12.

Kazakhstan's Vladislav Polyakov beat Japan's double Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima in the men's 50m breaststroke to win his first major title.

"I had a great start and I was so surprised to see myself first," said Polyakov, who trains in the United States at the University of Alabama.

China lacked the same punch they had in the first night's racing, winning only two gold medals compared to the five they bagged on Saturday.

Qi Hui used her powerful breaststroke to pull away from the field and win the 400m individual medley in a time of 4:38.31, while China's women 4x100 relay took the second gold ahead of Japan.

At the bowling alley Malaysia got on the board when Esther Mei Lan Cheah took gold in the women's singles, while Nyamkhuu Damdinsuren won gold for Mongolia in Judo.

Ossian Shine
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