Hosts capture first gold medal at Doha

Updated: 2006-12-09 21:53

Bahrain's Tareq Mubarak Salem edged another Kenyan-born runner Gamel Belal Salem of Qatar to win the 3,000-meter steeplechase Friday on the first day of track and field competition.

Bahrain's Tareq Mubarak Salem runs with his national flag after winning the finals of the men's 3000m steeplechase at the 15th Asian Games in Doha December 8, 2006.[Reuters]
In the absence of world record holder Saif Saaeed Shaheen, another Kenyan-born Qatari who withdrew last week with an Achilles tendon injury, Salem and Salem made their move in the final lap of the race to overtake bronze medal-winner Lin Xiangqian of China, who led for most of the race.

"I was watching the distance and I knew on the final lap to attack," Mubarak Salem said.

Born Dennis Kipkuruiketer Sang, Mubarak Salem is one of several Kenyans who have switched nationality to Bahrain and other Persian Gulf states in return for better funding and opportunities to compete.

"I'm much satisfied with Bahrain. It's good for me ... it's hard in Kenya to compete for a championship," he said.

Japan's Kayoko Fukushi won gold in the 10,000 meters, holding out Bahrain's Kareema Saleh Jasim and countrywoman Hiromi Ominami.

In the hammer throw, Dilshod Nazarov of Tajikistan took the men's gold, while Zhang Wenxiu won the women's event with an Asian record 74.15 meters

Host Qatar won its first gold medal of the Asian Games in the equestrian three-day event Friday, a day after a South Korean rider died during the same competition.

Kim Hyung-chil, a 47-year-old member of South Korea's three-day event team and a former Olympian, was crushed by his horse after hitting a jump during the cross-country section. It was the first death of a competitor in the 55-year history of the Asian Games.

While Kim's brother arrived in Qatar on Friday to collect the body, equestrian officials defended their decision to continue running the cross-country stage following the death and in deteriorating weather conditions.

"The horse approached the jump and essentially got too close before taking off, resulting in a somersault-type fall ... the rider was probably dead on impact," equestrian technical delegate Andy Griffiths, a former British rider, said Friday.

Japan took silver in the team event and India got the bronze medal after initial third-placed Indonesia was relegated to fourth on a protest. Yoshiaki Oiwa claimed the individual eventing medal for Japan.

India's Jaspal Rana equaled a world record to win the 25-meter center fire pistol competition on the last day of shooting.

Rana, winner also in the 25-meter standard pistol, joins seven shooters sharing the world record of 590 points set originally by Afanasijs Kuzmins for the then-Soviet Union in July 1989.

Wang Hongni of China won the first ever Asian Games triathlon gold medal, beating Japan's Ai Ueda and Akiko Sekine on the seaside Corniche course.

Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Gaag, the 1999 world champion, ran away from the rest of the field to win the men's gold in 1 hour, 50 minutes, 53.14 seconds. Gaag finished 25.85 seconds ahead of Daniel Lee Chi Wo of Hong Kong. Another Kazakh, Daniil Sapunov, took the bronze.

"It certainly gives me confidence before the beginning of the Beijing Olympics and it's an important victory for the overall ranking of Kazakhstan," said Gaag.

Lee Hyung-taik beat Go Soeda of Japan 6-3, 7-6 in the singles and teamed with Jun Woong-sun to beat the pair of Takao Suzuki and Satoshi Iwabuchi 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in doubles to help South Korea win the rain-delayed men's team tennis gold.

"Thanks to the weather I got some rest yesterday and I was in good condition," Lee said.

Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat will get another shot at No. 1-ranked Lin Dan at the Asian Games after the pair won their singles semifinals matches.

In the women's field hockey, Japan turned the formbook upside down with a resounding 3-0 victory over defending champion China to top the round-robin league standings.

There was another lopsided result in the women's field hockey when Surinder Kaur scored a hat trick to lead India to a 7-0 thrashing of Hong Kong.

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