Fri, Dec 08, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Asian Games: Taiwanese athletes close in on Asian Games gold

ENDGAMES The women's doubles tennis team set up a gold-medal clash against India today, as the women's basketball squad booked a semi-finals berth

By Marc Langer  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AFP

Taiwan's Lin Man-hsu powers through the pool in heat 3 of the women's 200m individual medley swimming event at the Hamad Aquatic Center during the 15th Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, yesterday. Lin finished third in the heat with a time of 2:20:35 and qualified for the finals.

PHOTO: AFP

While Taiwan's baseball team was bringing home the nation's third gold medal of the Asian Games yesterday, other teams were busy setting the stage for finals of their own.

Late on Wednesday night, Taiwan's women's doubles tennis team Hsieh Su-wei and Chan Yung-jan dispatched their Japanese opponents in just two sets in their semi-final match to qualify for a gold-medal match against the Indian team. Hsieh defeated Morigami Akiko two games to one in the first set, while Chan finished off the second set two games to none. Unfortunately yesterday's championship match was canceled because of rain and rescheduled for today.

The women's basketball team earned a spot in the semi-finals when it followed up its win over Korea on Tuesday with an easier 102-73 defeat of Thailand yesterday. The team set the tone early, exploding for 37 points to Thailand's 16 in the first quarter. Liu Chun-yi and Chiang Feng-chun continued to have the hot hands, leading the team again in scoring with 18 points each. Having won both of its matches in the preliminary round-robin, Taiwan now moves on to the semi-finals, where it will face the winner of the Korea-Thailand match tomorrow.

A number of swimmers qualified for the finals in their heats yesterday as well. Among the men, Wang Wei-wen placed second in the men's 200m breast stroke, while the 4x1,000m medley relay team of Yuan Ping, Chiang Hsin-hung, Hsu Chi-chieh and Wang Shao-an placed third. In the women's half, Lin Man-hsu placed third in the 200m individual medley to qualify for the finals.

However, not all the news was rosy, as Japan got a bit of payback yesterday when its women's handball team thrashed Taiwan 31 to 20 in the preliminary round. Taiwan held its own early on, trailing only 14-11 at halftime, but ran out of gas in the second half as it was outscored 9-17.

Taiwan also fielded four competitors at different weight classes in the taekwondo preliminaries.

As of press time, Sung Yu-chi had defeated Vietnam's Cao Trong Chinh in the men's 72kg class nine to three.

Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan pulled out of the Asian Games singles event on Wednesday saying he wanted to rest his injured wrist for the Australian Open in January.

"I've pulled out of the singles, because the Australian Open is more important for me," the defending Asian Games champion said.

Paradorn was speaking after losing to Japan's Go Soeda 7-6, 0-6, 4-6 in the semi-finals of the men's team competition.

"I can't push myself too hard because of my wrist. I wasn't in fine shape. I was completely out of my game and he [Soeda] played well," the Thai star said.

Thailand were later bundled out of the team competition with defending champions Japan winning the third and crucial match in the doubles.

Japan's Satoshi Iwabuchi and Takao Suzuki proved too strong for identical twins Ratiwatana Sanchai and Ratiwatana Sonchat, winning 6-3, 7-6.

Thailand's Danai Udomchoke earlier saw off Satoshi Iwabuchi 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 in the first rubber.

Paradorn withdrew injured from his first match of the competition on Tuesday during Thailand's team quarter-final against Uzbekistan.

Paradorn rated pain in his wrist from an ongoing injury "seven out of 10" during his clash with Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin before withdrawing in the second set.

The top seed said then he would wait a few days before deciding on whether to defend his title, and said doctors had advised before the Games to rest for a few weeks.

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