Tragedy hits Doha Asian Games

Updated: 2006-12-08 09:20

In this image taken from television, South Korean rider Kim Hyung-chil falls from his horse Bundaberg Black during the cross country section of the equestrian three day eventing competition at the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, Thursday Dec. 7, 2006. Kim Hyung-chil died after the fall in rainy conditions on Thursday. He was 47.[AP]

Doha - China and Japan ended six days of swimming action deadlocked with 16 gold each, but tragedy marred the Asian Games when a South Korean equestrian rider was crushed to death in a fall.

Proceedings were blighted when Kim Hyung Chil died after his horse Bundaberg Black reared and fell as it attemped a fence during the individual cross country competition.

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Kim, 47, an experienced rider, was thrown from the saddle and crushed by the horse which landed on his head.

"We have opened a formal inquiry into this tragic accident," said Chris Hodson, vice-president of the International Equestrian Federation.

"To my knowledge it is the first time this has happened at the Asian Games."

There was another scare when Chinese water polo player Han Zhidong collapsed poolside. He was rushed to hospital but his condition was not known.

In the pool, the wheels fell off the Chinese juggernaut when it produced its worst performance so far, which ending their regional dominance established when they finished with 20 golds to Japan's 11 at the last Asiad.

Japan picked up three men's golds on Thursday to China's woman's gold.

But the night belonged to South Korean teenager Park Tae-Hwan who snatched his third gold of the meet with his second Asian record of the competition.

Park, 17, clocked 14min 55.03secs to win the 1,500m freestyle, establishing himself as the oustanding swimmer of the games.

The Seoul schoolboy also won the 200m and 400m freestyle.

China started the day on the right foot, with Han Yucheng winning the men's 20 kilometre walk in appalling conditions with rain bucketing down.

Despite this, he crossed the finish line in 1hr 21mins 40sec, collecting the first athletics title of the Games ahead of Kim Hyun-Sub of South Korea and Japan's Koichiro Morioka.

His teammate Liu Hong won the women's race.

Han though was not happy despite his convincing victory.

"I am not satisfied with the result," said Han. "Before the Games I wanted to set a new Asian Games record but I didn't."

The rain created havoc, with the tennis team finals and soft tennis finals cancelled for the day.

The baseball eventually got underway and a triumphant Taiwan beat Japan 8-7 to take the crown.

"We were down a couple of times in the game and never gave up," said Taiwan pitcher Keng Po Hsuan. "That says a lot about the character of our team. It's been a wild time, very exciting."

In the Al-Arabi Indoor Hall, China took control of the table tennis, fending off attacks from Hong Kong and South Korea to win another three gold medals.

World number four Wang Hao beat team-mate and world number two Ma Lin 4-1 for the men's singles title while Guo Yue overcame the challenge of Hong Kong's Tie Ya Na 4-3.

Ma and Wang Nan earlier teamed for gold in the mixed doubles, beating South Korean youngsters Lee Jung Woo and Lee Eun Hee to win 4-2.

On the water, China's women rowers added a hat-trick of gold to their ever-increasing haul. Among the men, the medals were shared between South Korea, Japan and China.

Meanwhile, India finally got a gold on the shooting ranges when Jaspal Rana overcame illness to snatch a dramatic victory in the men's 25m Standard Pistol.

On the green beize of the snooker hall, defending champion and world number four Ding Junhai of China beat his countryman Liang Wenbo 4-2 to win the singles title for his third gold of the Games.

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