Sat, Feb 05, 2011 - Page 7 News List

Kazakhstan continue winning streak

AFP, ALMATY, Kazakhstan

Kazuya Yoshioka of Japan competes in the ski jumping individual K95 competition at the Asian Winter Games yesterday in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Photo: REUTERS

Hosts Kazakhstan continued their winning run at the Asian Winter Games yesterday, earning four more gold medals.

The performance allowed the Kazakhs to gain an impressive lead in the Games medal table with 22 gold medals and 55 overall, while second-placed South Korea have so far clinched 11 gold medals and 30 overall. Japan and China are third, both with nine golds.

Jung Dong-hyun of South Korea grabbed the only gold medal for his team yesterday winning the men’s alpine skiing super-combined.

He clocked an aggregate time of one minute 45.70 seconds to stay just 0.12 seconds ahead of Kazakhstan’s Igor Zakurdayev, who won Tuesday’s super-G and was leading the combined after the first run. Another South Korean, Kim Woo-sung, was third.

“I intended to win here and I’m happy I managed to do it,” Donghyun said. “The win at such a prestigious event will allow me to avoid military service on my return home.”

Meanwhile, Wang Fei of China won the women’s 1500m distance in speed skating, setting a new Asian record with a time of 1:58.37, beating her own previous best which she established at the previous winter Asiad in 2007.

Noh Seon-yeong of South Korea was second while Japan’s Nao Kodaira took bronze.

Japanese biathlete Junji Nagai, who was third in the sprint and second in the pursuit, collected a complete set of Games medals after winning the men’s individual 20km event.

Chinese biathletes Ren Long and Li Zhonghai finished second and third respectively.

Kazakhstan’s speedskater Denis Kuzin also broke the previous Asian record in the men’s 1500m, clocking 1:47.37.

South Koreans Mo Tae-bum and the previous record holder Lee Kyou-hyuk completed the podium.

Local ski jumper Evgeni Levkin produced a sensational performance to win gold in the individual K95 event with a mark of 252.0 points.

The result of Kazakhstan’s youngest participant left the event’s clear favorite Yoshioka Kazuya of Japan, who won individual K125 competition on Monday, 3.5 points behind with silver. Another local favorite, Radik Zhaparov, clinched bronze.

“I’m very happy with my win. It’s my career first gold medal,” said the 18-year-old Levkin. “Speaking frankly I still do not believe I could overcome two-time Asian champion Kazuya.”

Veteran Kazakh biathlete Yelena Khrustaleva also clinched gold in the women’s individual 15km event.

An accurate shooting display by the 30-year-old helped her finish 1:15 ahead of Fuyuko Suzuki of Japan, with Marina Lebedeva taking bronze.

Lyudmila Fedotova also added a gold medal to Kazakhstan’s tally by winning the women’s alpine skiing super-combined.

Kim Sun-joo of South Korea, who has already won two titles here — downhill on Monday and Super-G on Tuesday — was also the favorite in the alpine ski program-closing event.

She topped the combined after the first run but failed to finish the slalom in the final meters, allowing Fedotova in to grab the gold.

Another South Korean, Jeong So-ra, won silver with Xenia Stroilova of Kazakhstan claiming bronze.

Kazakhstan’s bandy squad, the Games’ red hot favorites, confirmed their top status beating their opponents from Mongolia 17-0. The two teams will meet again in tomorrow’s final to decide gold.

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