HANGZHOU, China— China is simply relentless in its domination of the Asian Games.
At the games five years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia, the country won 132 gold medals and 287 medals overall. This time, into Day 9 with five full days remaining, China has already broken its mark for gold medals and is very close to matching the overall total from five years ago.
With 305 gold medals awarded, China has won almost half — 146. Its overall total stood at 269, just short of the 287 mark set in 2018.
Host nations typically get a “home field” bounce when hosting the Olympics or a large multi-sport event like the Asian Games. China has emphasized this year’s games, partially to show the country has opened up after the severe restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Skater Jung Cheolwon crossed the line in Monday’s 3,000-meter relay and began to celebrate thinking he’d won the gold medal for South Korea.
But he was shocked when the scoreboard showed South Korea had finished second to Taiwan, which clocked 4 minutes, 05.692 seconds. South Korea finished in 4:05.702.
Jung apologized to his teammates for his costly error.
“I made a rather big mistake,” the 27-year-old Jung said. “I didn’t come at full speed to the finish line. I let my guard down too early. I am very sorry.”
SOUTH VS. NORTH
South Korea defeated neighbor North Korea 4-1 on Monday in a best-of-seven series to take the gold medal in women’s doubles in table tennis. Shin Yu-bin and Jeon Ji-hee teamed up to beat Cha Su Yong and Pak Sug Yong.
In an all-China final in men’s singles, Fan Zhendong defeated Wang Chuqin 4-3.
Uzbekistan failed to completely dominate the ancient martial art of kurash, which has its roots in the Central Asian country. The sport debuted in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
Uzbekistan won four of the seven gold medals available. But China picked up two gold and Iran added another.
On Monday on the closing day, Liu Yi of China defeated Zahra Bagheri of Iran 3-0 in the women’s 87-kilogram division, and Sadegh Azarang of Iran defeated Kim Ming-yo of South Korea 10-0.
On Sunday, Yu Dan of China won the women’s 70-kilogram final against Donya Aghaei of Iran.
Yu is a former judoka that China has moved into kurash because of its similarities to other martial arts.
“In terms of throws and grips, there are many similarities between wresting, judo and kurash,” Yu said. “It has helped me a lot.”
Japan completed its sweep of the trialthon gold medals by winning the mixed relay on Monday.
Kenji Nener won the men’s gold on Friday and Yuko Takahashi added the women’s title on Saturday. Both ran on Monday in the winning team event, which saw China take the silver and Honk Kong the bronze.
“It was tough,” Takahashi said. “I was almost dead at the end, but I gave it everything.”
Many triathletes competed in the world championships in Pontevedra, Spain, on Sept. 22-24 and then rushed to China.
Japan won the gold medal by defeating China 4-0 with Miu Goto picking up the victory. Chai Yinan was charged with the loss for China. Taiwan defeated the Philippines 3-2 in the bronze-medal game.
Esports wrapped up Monday as one of the most talked about events at the Asian Games.
Going into bronze- and gold-medal games, China led the medal table with three gold and four overall. South Korea had two gold and also four overall.
Thailand was the only other nation with gold and also had four overall. Tawian had four overall but failed to win gold.
Malaysia won the bronze on Monday in Dota 2, defeating Kyrgyzstan 2-0. China played Mongolia for the gold medal.