Sun, Nov 28, 2010 - Page 20 News List

‘One of best ever’ Asian Games comes to an end

AP, GUANGZHOU, CHINA

Myanmar’s May Zin Phyoe, front, competes against China’s Sun Xiaodan during the Asian Games women’s sepak takraw doubles final in Guangzhou, China, yesterday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Just five gold medals were presented yesterday at the Asian Games in a rather slow-paced denouement for an event the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) president referred to as “one of the best ever.”

Zhou Chunxiu won the women’s marathon, giving China their 198th gold medal of the Games, one shy of their eventual record total.

Myanmar took their first two — in the men’s and women’s doubles finals in sepak takraw, while OCA chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah told a closing press conference that even a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday during the Games could not damage the event’s image.

North and South Korean “athletes stood shoulder-to-shoulder to compete, even though there had been some problems in their countries,” Al-Sabah said.

The closing ceremony yesterday evening began with an impressive display of fireworks from the 600m Canton Tower and along the Pearl River, the focal point of China’s third-largest city of 10 million.

Like the opening ceremony, the closing extravaganza was held in a 27,000-seat stadium on Haixinsha island on the river.

After 48 gold medals were presented on Friday in a hectic, penultimate day, Zhou won the first of the last-day medals when she finished the marathon in 2 hours, 25 minutes, about 90 seconds ahead of her Chinese compatriot Zhui Xiaolon. Kim Kum-ok of North Korea won the bronze.

Ji Young-jun of South Korea won gold in the men’s marathon, finishing in 2 hours, 11 minutes, 11seconds, with Japan’s Yukihiro Kitaoka second. That ended China’s chances of capturing 200 gold medals in Guangzhou.

Myanmar won their previous gold in sepak takraw in 1998 in the women’s regu division of the acrobatic volleyball-like sport in which competitors use just about everything but their hands to get a rattan ball over the net.

Myanmar’s men beat South Korea 2-0 and their women defeated China 2-1.

China won the first gold of the Games on Nov. 13 when Yuan Xiaochao finished first in the wushu martial arts event and they took the last yesterday.

China’s women’s volleyball team came back from two sets down to beat South Korea 21-25, 22-25, 25-10, 25-17, 16-14, leaving the nation’s final gold medal count for the Games at 199.

Al-Sabah was in an upbeat mood in the hours leading up to the closing ceremony, noting that there had been only two doping cases at the Games compared with more than a dozen at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.

Al-Sabah also reiterated his support for the most controversial decision at the Games when Taiwanese taekwondo competitor Yang Shu-chun was disqualified during her match against Vietnam’s Thi Hau Vu. Judges ruled she was using illegal sensors on the heels of her shoes which would have unfairly added points to her score.

Al-Sabah said yesterday the competitor had used “unfair technology ... it was a very fair suspension.”

The OCA president also announced that the OCA had resolved “the misunderstandings and solved all the problems” of its dealings with the organizing committee of the next Asian Games to be held in 2014 in Incheon, South Korea.

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