China bags 1000th Asian Games gold
Hosts China made clear who was boss on the opening day of the Asian Games Saturday by claiming 16 gold medals, including its 1,000th since first competing in 1974.
The sporting extravaganza, the most ambitious Asiad so far with some 10,000 athletes from 45 countries and territories vying for gold in 42 sports, kicked into gear after a spectacular ceremony opened the massive showpiece.
China’s Yuan Xiaochao took the first honours, ensuring his name goes down in the history books as the first gold medal winner in Guangzhou by successfully defending the men’s Changquan title in wushu.
It was the first of 476 golds to be decided over two weeks of competition, with China heavily favoured to top the medal table. South Korea and Japan should battle for second.
“I’m so happy to have won the first gold medal of the Games and I appreciate my coach’s help. I will make it up to him by working even harder,” said Yuan, who has aspirations of becoming a martial arts film star.
Swimmer Zhu Qianwei also made history by claiming China’s 1,000th Asian Games gold, a feat no other nation has achieved. The landmark was reached when she won the women’s 200 metres freestyle, 36 years after China first competed in an Asiad at Tehran in 1974.They have progressively become more dominant over the years, culminating in winning 165 golds at the last Games in Doha four years ago.
“I am satisfied with my performance and I hope I can compete with more rivals of high quality in the future,” said Zhu, who was not aware of the milestone she had reached. The pool glory went to China who won four gold to Japan’s two, including victory in the women’s 100m butterfly to Olympic silver medalist Jiao Liuyang.
China added to their haul on the Aoti shooting ranges, with Zhu Qinan making amends for his bitter defeat in the Beijing Olympics. Zhu, the Athens Olympic champion who was reduced to tears after losing to India’s Abhinav Bindra on home soil two years ago, hit back with a vengeance.
He won both the team and individual titles in the men’s 10m Air Rifle competition as China picked up five of the six shooting golds on offer.