Host City

China won't rest on laurels as it prepares for next challenge

By Lei Lei (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-28 08:45
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GUANGZHOU - China stayed at the top of the medals table for the eighth successive time at the Asian Games after collecting 199 gold medals, 119 silvers and 98 bronzes in Guangzhou.

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The host also broke its previous record haul of 183, 107 and 51 respectively at the Beijing Asiad in 1990.

Sports authorities said they were happy with the results on Saturday.

"The Chinese athletes performed to their best ability at most of the events to achieve the best results ever in the history of the Asian Games," said Duan Shijie, chef-de-mission of the Chinese delegation.

"The Asian Games is a testing ground that allows us to prepare for the 2012 London Olympics. It helped us find the right direction and sort out any problems," said Duan.

"In some events, we achieved remarkable results, which will make us competitive on the world stage, but in other areas we still have far to go."

China continued its traditional dominance in swimming, track and field, diving, table tennis, badminton and gymnastics in Guangzhou, keeping a stranglehold on many of the titles.

The successful return of star hurdler Liu Xiang also boosted the confidence of the delegation.

"Liu returned to show his strength again and the men's sprinter also won the first-ever gold medal in the 100m," said Duan.

"In some events where we have the traditional advantage at the Olympics, such as table tennis, badminton, gymnastics and diving, we also achieved great results with mixed squads of veterans and youngsters.

"This means that those teams have completed the transitional period successfully. I hope they can keep working toward the London Olympics."

The young athletes he was referring to, first-time competitors in a multisports event of this magnitude, won a total of 127 gold medals.

"They are becoming the centerpieces of many of our national teams," Duan said. "Some of them showed us how capable they are of representing their country, while others still have more to learn."

However, Duan warned that the Games also highlighted potential stumbling blocks.

"Some of the winning results were far too low in standard compared to the Olympics. Just because we had a successful Asian Games does not necessarily mean we will be bound for success in London," said Duan, who specifically pinpointed fencing, wrestling and canoeing.

"Many of our team events were disappointing. Our men's and women's soccer teams, as well as the men's volleyball team, finished with one of the worst results at the Asian Games this time.

"Our poor performances in the men's handball and baseball competitions also taught us we have a long way to go in these areas," said Duan, who is also China's deputy sports minister.

China lost 3-0 to Japan in the opener of the men's soccer competition on Nov 8, and was stopped by South Korea in the quarterfinals. The women's team lost twice to South Korea and once to Japan, finishing without a medal for the first time in Asiad history.

The men finished a dismal fifth in volleyball and seventh in handball.

"The Guangzhou Asian Games had more events than ever and this is one of the reasons why China finished with so many gold medals," said Cai Jiadong, secretary-general of the Chinese delegation.

He said 74 of the gold medals were from non-Olympic sports.

"The gold medals cannot prove the dominance of China in Asia. There were more and more countries and regions won medals at the Asiad. India and South Korea also made rapid strides," said Cai.

"I hope China's sports system can be a model for other countries and regions," he said.

China Daily



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