China already glistening in goldThe Chinese dragon is roaring.
For China, it’s no longer a question of whether it will finish atop the medal standings at the 15th Asian Games in Doha, or at any other Asian Games for that matter. It’s just a question of how many medals it will capture, and how large its margin of victory will be.
That China won 25 medals over the first weekend, including 17 gold, isn’t as surprising as the fact that it didn’t win more. Japan and South Korea are battling for second in the medal count. Both nations had 12 total medals, but Japan had three golds to Korea’s one.
This Asian Games’ first gold medal came from the Chinese men’s air rifle team, as Li Jie, Liu Tianyou and Zhu Qinan went to the top of the podium in the 10-meter competition. China went on to sweep all six gold medals available in shooting on Saturday, and added another one on Sunday. Chen Li was the shooting star, winning both individual and team gold medals in women’s trap.
After the men’s event, Chinese shooting coach Wang Yifu told China’s Xinhua News Agency, “The marathon is over now.” But he was speaking only of his own team ― the medal haul has just begun for China.
Three more gold medals for China came in weightlifting, with Wang Mingjuan and Li Ping winning gold in the 48-kilogram and 53-kilogram categories in women’s weightlifting.
The Chinese men’s artistic gymnasts beat Japan and Korea for the team gold medal, with Yang Wei as the star performer.
As expected, China, which won 20 swimming gold medals in Busan four years ago, dominated the pool in early events, claiming five of six gold medals available. Pang Jiaying and Yafei Zhou were double gold medallists as part of the relay medley team after capturing the women’s 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly.
China has long said its focus is to use these Asian Games as a warm-up act for the big show in 2008, when Beijing hosts the Summer Olympics.
Chinese weightlifter Wang summed up the Chinese mindset, telling the Agence France-Presse: “My only goal today was to win gold and my final goal is to win gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.”
by Yoo Jee-ho
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