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October 5, 2014

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Home » Sports » East Asian Games

China rules again as Incheon Asiad closes

THE Asian Games wrapped up yesterday with China dominating the gold-medal count and North Korea stealing the limelight.

As the final events played out ahead of the closing ceremony, that included K-Pop acts and a taekwondo display, China had won 151 gold medals — well ahead of the 79 won by host South Korea and the 47 golds that went to Japan. All told, 14 world records were set during the Games, which brought together more than 9,500 athletes from 45 countries and regions. More than 40 Asian records also fell.

“These numbers show the development of sports in the region,” said Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia. “Everybody was satisfied with the success and the level of the Games.”

The next Asian Games will be in Jakarta in 2018 and the sheikh said the OCA would take action to avoid the transport and stadium chaos which dogged the Southeast Asian Games when it was held in the Indonesian capital in 2011.

“We will keep the culture of the zone (Southeast Asia) but not the technical standards of the zone,” the Kuwaiti said.

Japanese swimmer Kosuke Hagino was named as the outstanding athlete of the Games after scooping up seven medals, including four golds. Of the 45 competing nations, 37 won medals.

However, China’s gold haul of 151 was down from the 199 it won at the last Games in Guangzhou, though there were 37 fewer golds to be won in Incheon.

China also proved to be well ahead of the rest in the pool, on the track and in an unmatchable variety of the other sports that are included in the Games, which feature everything from standard Olympic events to regional specialties like kabbadi — a rough, tag-like game that is popular on the subcontinent — to southeast Asian favorite sepak takraw, an acrobatic game that resembles volleyball but is played primarily with the feet.

North Korea turned out to be a major presence — its athletes won a modest 11 gold medals but set five of the nine weightlifting world records.

After months of bumpy negotiations with Seoul, it sent a delegation of 150 athletes and, in a surprise move, two of its top leaders arrived in Incheon yesterday to attend the closing ceremony.

The highlight of the Games for North Korea was the women’s soccer final against Japan, which North Korea won convincingly 3-1. The Games’ most dramatic moment was the South Korean men’s win in the soccer final against North Korea, with the South Koreans scoring in the 29th minute of extra-time after a hard-fought but scoreless match.

China’s hammer thrower Zhang Wenxiu was one of six athletes to fail doping tests at the Games. She was one of two gold medalists. The other was a Malaysian wushu champion, Tai Cheau Xuen.


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