China’s men’s 4x100m relay team broke the Asian record as they raced to victory at the Asian Games yesterday, while Bahrain’s African imports secured a hat-trick of long-distance golds.
Chen Shiwei, Xie Zhenye, Su Bingtian and Zhang Peimeng crossed the line in 37.99 seconds, becoming the first Asians to go below 38 seconds. It was also the third-best time in the world this year.
Japan were a full half-second back in second, while Hong Kong snatched bronze from Thailand in a tight anchor leg at Incheon’s Asiad Main Stadium.
There was another Asian record for China in the men’s javelin as Zhao Qinggang threw the second-longest distance of the year, a monster 89.15m, nearly 5m clear of nearest rival, Ryohei Arai of Japan.
With a few exceptions the track and field performances in Incheon have been some way below world-class, but there have been Games records in 17 out of 46 events, with the men’s marathon still to come.
Chinese sprint star Zhang, who ran 10.00 seconds in last year’s world championships in Moscow, but only managed a disappointing fourth in the 100m final on Sunday, said the team had not set out to target the Asian mark.
“I never imagined we would break the record, we just focused on training to win the race,” he said.
China’s women made it a relay double with victory in the 4x100m, led by 100m gold medalist and 200m silver medalist Wei Yongli.
India’s women -- Piwar Priyanka, Lukka Tintu, Kaur Mandeep and Poovamma Machettira -- continued their dominance of the 4x400m, winning for the fourth Games in a row.
There was last-lap heartbreak for Japan’s Suguru Osako in the men’s 10,000m as Bahrain’s Elhassan Elabbassi snatched gold with a cleverly-timed kick, streaking away over the last 200m to win in 28 minutes, 11.20 seconds.
Moroccan-born Elabbassi’s tactical race completed a hat-trick of long-distance golds for Bahrain, after Maryam Yusuf Jamal won the 5,000m and Eunice Kirwa the marathon.
China lead the athletics medal standings with 15 golds, with Bahrain second on eight and Qatar third with six. Virtually all of the Gulf states’ golds have been won by athletes who switched nationality from African countries.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s campaign against wushu gold-medalist Tai Cheau Xuen’s failed drugs test finally hit the wall when their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports failed.
Chef de mission Danyal Balagopal said Malaysia would now return Tai’s gold medal, which officials had retained as they protested Tai’s innocence.
“We will accept the decision. We are not sore losers. They gave us a fair hearing,” Balagopal said. “I feel very sad for the girl. I don’t think she had any intention to cheat.”
Boxing’s world governing body opened a disciplinary case against India’s Sarita Devi after she refused to accept her lightweight bronze in protest at judging standards.
Games organizers said Devi’s actions were “against the spirit of sportsmanship,” but also urged the association to “ensure fair play” after several complaints.
Elsewhere, defending champions Bangladesh crashed out of the men’s cricket on the toss of a coin after rain forced the abandonment of their semi-final against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s captain Lahiru Thirimanne called “tails” to take his team into a final against Afghanistan.
With just one full day of competition left, China were sitting on 142 golds, nearly double the tally of second-placed South Korea on 72.
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