Lean day for China as Qatar breaks gold drought

Updated: 2006-12-09 09:11

It was a lean day for China on Friday as they won only five gold medals but host Qatar had a lot more tocelebrate after breaking the gold drought at the Asian Games by winning two.

China had their goal of winning their 100th gold medals postponed to Saturday, with their gold medal tally rising to 95 from Thursday's 90, after losing ground in shooting and taekwondo.

But the Chinese had no reason to worry because their leading status looked rock solid. Japan remained second with 31 golds and South Korea was third with 29, after each side also won five gold medals on Friday.

Host Qatar finally breathed a sigh of relief seven days after giving the world a spectacular opening ceremony. Their equestrian team defeated traditional powers Japan and India to win the team evening gold. Abdulqader Hikamu A Sarhan won a second for them in the men's 78kg taekwondo final, beating Iran's Mehdi Bibak Asl.

Chinese women's hammer thrower Zhang Wenxiu showed her dominance in Asia, shattering her own Asian record to win the goldmedal with a powerful throw of 74.15 meters at her penultimate attempt to eclipse the previous Asian mark of 73.24m, which was set by her at a national athletics meet on June 24, 2005.

The 20-year-old Zhang, making her first appearance in the AsianGames, was in a class of her own throughout the eight-woman competition as each of her six throws was successful and good enough to take the title.

China, Japan, Tajikistan and Bahrain split the four gold medalson offer in the track and field competition.   Bahrain's Tareq Mubarak Salem captured the men's 3,000m steeplechase gold, beating Qatar's Gamal Belal Salem and China's Lin Xiangqian to the second and third places.

Japan's Kayoko Fukushi took the women's 10,000m and Dilshod Nazarov took away the men's hammer throw title, which was Tajikistan's first ever gold medal at the Asian Games.

History was made in the duet synchronized swimming final as Chinese twin sisters Jiang Wenwen and Jiang Tingting shocked theirstrongest rivals Japanese to win the first gold of its kind for the country in the event.

The 23-year-old Chinese twins stopped Japan's unbeaten run at the Asian Games. The Japanese have won every gold medal in the synchronized swimming since it was introduced to the Asian Games in Hiroshima in 1994.

China had mixed fortunes in the badminton event. Zheng Bo and Gao Ling won an all-Chinese final in the badminton mixed doubles event by overcoming their teammates Xie Zhongbo and Zhang Yawen.

But China will have no chance to win the women's singles. Wang Chen and Yip Pui Yin, two shuttlers from Hong Kong of China, will vie for the title on Saturday.

Yip, 19-year-old rookie, beat South Korea's Hwang Hye Yeon while Wang ousted world champion Xie Xingfang to reach the final.

China's other two gold medals were won by Qian Jicheng from themen's 60kg bodybuilding and Wang Hongni in the women's triathlon.

Chinese sharpshooters, who had won 27 out of 44 gold medals in stake in the previous six days, got no gold in the last day's competition. India won two golds from both individual and team events of the men's 25m center fire. Kuwait's Slah Almutairi took the men's skeet individual and Kazakhstan went away with the men'sskeet team.

Kazakhstan was second after China on the shooting gold medal tally with six, followed by South Korea, India and Kuwait each with three. The other two golds went to DPR Korea and Thailand.

South Koreans shone in their traditional territory of taekwondo,by collecting three gold medals out of four. The other one went toSarhan of Qatar.   Elsewhere, defending champion China sailed into the semifinals of women's volleyball tournament after beating Mongolia 3-0 with alineup of substitutes.

Chinese men's basketball team also booked a berth in the last four, defeating Japan 94-68, but Asian runner-up Lebanon crashed out after suffering its third straight defeat 86-72 to Chinese Taipei.

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