Team China

Games hailed as 'extraordinary'

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-28 09:57
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Games hailed as 'extraordinary'
China volleyball players (left to right) Chen Liyi, Wei Qiuyue, Xue Ming and Wang Yimei react after winning match point over the ROK to win the gold medal during the women's volleyball final at the Asian Games in Guangzhou on Saturday. [Bobby Yip / Reuters]

GUANGZHOU - An "extraordinary" Asian Games on Saturday prepared to close after 15 days of thrills and spills that saw China reinforce its sporting credentials and Japan slip further behind.

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On the last day of action at an Asiad unprecedented in size and scale, China fittingly won the last gold at stake when its women's volleyball team toppled the Republic of Korea (ROK) 3-2 in a thrilling finale.

Zhou Chunxiu earlier added yet more gold to its glittering haul by defending her women's marathon title, with teammate Zhu Xiaolin taking silver and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) Kim Kum-ok the bronze.

The ROK's Ji Young-jun won the men's race.

The volleyball success pushed the host nation's final gold tally to 199 and its total medals to a whopping 416 - both Asian Games records.

While China basked in its most successful Asiad ever, its archrival Japan performed worse then expected, winning just 48 titles for an overall 216 total medals.

It left it well behind the ROK, who claimed 76 gold and 232 medals altogether.

"The reason why we have been largely successful is related to the rise of our nation, along with the constant rise of China's economy and our comprehensive national strength," China's vice minister of sport Duan Shijie said.

"This medal haul again can represent a major achievement in our preparations for the London Olympic Games."

While the traditional big three dominated, 36 of the 45 countries and territories taking part managed to climb the podium, with some notable successes.

Macao won its first gold medal through Jia Rui in the men's wushu and Bangladesh matched that breakthrough, claiming the men's cricket title in an exciting victory over Afghanistan.

Oman and Nepal propped up the table with a single bronze each, but there was no joy for minnows like Timor-Leste, Maldives, Turkmenistan, Brunei and Cambodia.

There were three world records (two in weightlifting and one in archery) as well as 103 Asian records.

In all, 12,600 drug tests were carried out with just two failures - Uzbek wrestler Jakhongir Muminov and Uzbek judoka Shokir Muminov.

There were also early problems with empty stadiums and complaints about the long distances to venues, but Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmed Al Fahad Al Sabah had nothing but praise.

"Guangzhou looked to challenge Beijing (Olympics) and I think they did it successfully," said the Kuwaiti.

"Some Olympic committees and OCA colleagues say there is the same level compared to Beijing or even better. Athletes in the village say facilities were even better than Beijing.

"Guangzhou made a great a success. I would say they were an extraordinary games."

Organizing committee deputy secretary-general Xu Ruisheng said he, too, was pleased with the outcome of an event that took seven years to plan and cost billions of dollars, transforming this southern metropolis.

"There have been many touching stories every day at all of the competition venues," he said.

"Audiences have shown their enthusiasm and athletes have performed at their best. This is what the games needed."

After a widely acclaimed opening ceremony, the games closed on Saturday with Korean pop sensation Rain performing as part of the handover to the 2014 host - Incheon.

The star also known as Jung Ji-hoon sang three songs in an extravaganza televised to billions of people throughout the region.

Agence France-Presse



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