Kitajima flops as China goldrush steams on


GUANGZHOU: Olympic swimming champion Kosuke Kitajima flopped to finish outside the medals on Monday as the Chinese Asian Games goldrush gathered steam.
The Japanese icon, who clinched double breaststroke gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was widely expected to win over 100m here but faded badly to finish fourth behind teammate Ryo Tateishi.
It was a stunning upset for Kitajima, who was attempting to win the 100-200m double for the third straight Asiad.
Tateishi clocked 1:00.38 with Kazakhstan’s Vladislav Polyakov taking silver and Wang Shuai of China the bronze. It followed Kitajima tying for fourth a day earlier in the 50m event, with the 28-year-old now looking to be past his best.
China has dominated the pool so far and they won another five of the seven golds available Monday with Japan’s Ryosuke Irie’s victory in the men’s 200m backstroke the only other non-Chinese triumph. Elsewhere, South Korea’s shooters secured their best ever gold medal haul even as China powered on towards a top finish in the competition.
The Koreans ended the third day with eight golds, already their highest tally in one edition of the Games after winning seven at home in Seoul in 1986 and again in Hiroshima in 1994.
China nudged ahead with the other 10 golds decided so far, looking set to match — or surpass — the 27 titles they won in the 44-event competition at Doha four years ago.
On the badminton courts, the Chinese woman shuttlers overwhelmed Thailand to win the team title, with world number one Wang Xin leading the way by beating Intanon Ratchanok, but she was pushed to three sets Superstar Lin Dan then led China to a 3-1 win over South Korea in the men’s final.
China also won gold in the men’s and women’s individual all-round gymnastics.
A day after Li Ping set two new world records at the Dongguan weightlifting arena, North Korea’s Kim Kum Sok broke the Chinese stranglehold by claiming the men’s -69kg title.
He finished ahead of Mortaza Rezaeian on lower body weight after they both finished tied on an aggregate of 324kg. China’s 2009 world champion Li Xueying won the women’s -58kg class.
World number 11 Li Na, meanwhile, swept aside fellow WTA Tour professional Tamarine Tanasugarn as China defeated Thailand to reach the women’s tennis team final. Li clinched a 6-2, 6-1 win while Peng Shuai was equally impressive in a 6-3, 6-2 triumph over former Wimbledon junior champion Noppawan Lertcheewakarn.
Tamarine, playing in her fourth Asian Games, was angry that a series of decisions went against her. China suffered one major setback when their men’s football team were knocked out at the last 16 stage, losing 3-0 to South Korea.
The Koreans now face Uzbekistan, who edged defending champions Qatar 1-0 in extra-time, for a place in the semi-finals. Iran and Oman will also clash in the last eight after 3-1 and 3-0 wins over Malaysia and Hong Kong respectively.