Chinese grab 165 golds

(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-16 06:59

Chinese men's basketballers won the nation's last gold medal at the Doha Asian Games on Friday, increasing the number of golds won by the Chinese to 165, the second-best record behind 183 at the 1990 Beijing Games.

The Chinese team outclassed the hosts 59-44 to win back the title it lost four years ago in Busan, South Korea, giving a perfect end to the all-conquering Chinese contingent which topped the medals table since the 1982 New Delhi Games.

However, the Qataris have something to cheer after their men's soccer team took the last gold medal of the Games with a 1-0 over Iraq in the final later on Friday. Qatar becomes the fourth host country to win the title and the first since South Korea in 1986 at Seoul.

China fielded a 928-member delegation in Doha, including 647 athletes at an average age of 23.3, competing in 362 events from 37 sports. In order to build a strong team for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, many of Chinese athletes are pretty young but most of them proved their strength.

China finished the Games overwhelmingly in first place in the medal standings with 165 golds and 316 medals overall. Second-place South Korea had 58 golds and 193 overall, followed by Japan in third (50 and 198).

South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan won three gold medals for South Korea and was voted most valuable player of the Games. Park won the 200-metre, 400-metre and 1,500-metre races, with his 14:55.03 time in the longest distance race placing him among the medal threats at the world championships in March in Melbourne, Australia.

Liu Xiang of China, the 110-metre hurdles world record holder, Athens Olympic champion and winner in Doha, was also a contender for the award.

The closing ceremonies also included a flag handover ceremony involving the next hosts of the Asian Games, Guangzhou, China, in 2010.

China's focus before then will firmly be on the Beijing 2008 Olympics, where it aims to supplant the United States atop the medal standings.

Liu Peng, who led the delegation to Doha, said despite China's overwhelming domination in the Asian Games, it was not a true indication of where the country stands in terms of Olympic preparation.

"Although we've achieved excellent results in the Asian Games, it does not mean that we will have the same performance in the Olympics," Liu told a news conference. "We must redouble our efforts to meet the coming challenges."

Pressure could be a major problem in 2008 as some Chinese star athletes fell to their weaker mental strength in Doha.

"Pressure might be one of the reasons for their unexpected loss. There is a silver lining in the failure as we can find the problem in time for the Olympics," he said.

(China Daily 12/16/2006 page1)

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours