China Rules in Pool and Beyond on Inaugural Day of Asian Games

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China Rules in Pool and Beyond on Inaugural Day of Asian Games

September 24: China dominated the opening day of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou on Sunday, winning the first gold and then making a clean sweep in swimming event. According to AFP, Chinese athletes broke several records in the process.

By the end of a highly successful day one for the hosts, they had pocketed 20 of 31 golds, while their nearest challengers South Korea had five.

China's medal rush began when Zou Jiaqi and Qiu Xiuping dominated the women's lightweight double sculls rowing for the first gold of the Games, finishing almost 10 seconds ahead of Uzbekistan, added AFP. It was especially satisfying for Zou, who hails from Hangzhou.

The home nation won six of the seven golds at the Fuyang Water Sports Centre rowing venue with only Hong Kong's Lam San-tung and Wong Wai-chun getting in on the party by winning the men's pairs, added the French news agency.

More golds rolled in for China in shooting, modern pentathlon, wushu and artistic gymnastics, in which they triumphed in the men's team event ahead of Japan.

But they saved the best for last in swimming, in what is always one of the most prestigious events at the Games and has extra significance with the Paris Olympics less than a year away, according to AFP.

The news agency reported that Olympic champion Zhang Yufei, China's "Butterfly Queen", was among the winners as the hosts romped home in all seven races on the opening night in the pool, smashing a slew of Asian records.

Zhang successfully defended her 200m butterfly crown, cruising to victory ahead of teammate Yu Liyan in a new Games-record time of 2min 05.57sec.

That has been bettered this year only by Canadian star Summer McIntosh and Australia's Lizzie Dekkers, then Zhang claimed a second gold of the night in the women's 4x100m freestyle relay.

The first official day of the 19th Asian Games also saw medals handed out in fencing, judo and taekwondo.

Two of South Korea's five golds came in taekwondo, with Kang Wan-jin winning the men's individual poomsae and Cha Yea-eun doing likewise in the women's event, added AFP.

Likewise, India's women cricketers earlier ripped through Bangladesh, dismissing them for just 51 in the first semi-final.

President Xi Jinping opened the Games on Saturday night after a delay of a year because of China's now-abandoned zero-Covid policy.

According to AFP, the Asian Games has more participants than the Olympics with more than 12,000 competitors from 45 nations and territories.

The athletes are vying for 40 gold medals in 40 sports disciplines across 54 venues.


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