From a trickle to a cascade of Chinese gold
The following is issued on behalf of the 2009 East Asian Games (HK) Ltd.:
What was a trickle turned into a cascade of gold medals as Hong Kong entered Day Five of the 2009 East Asian Games yesterday (December 6).
Even the spread of venues expanded to 15 as aquatics, dance sports, taekwondo and tennis climbed aboard the bandwagon of adrenalin-pumping and sweat-less sports.
And like a sleeping dragon, China shook off its somnolence, and charged to the top of the medals table. They did it in ball-gowns, they did it with swimsuits and any attire appropriate for the golden spread.
At day's end the front-runners in the medal tally are China with 16 gold, 11 silver and 7 bronze; with Japan just behind with 10 gold, 11 silver and 15 bronze.
Hong Kong had a day of mixed fortunes – heart-break at the rugby sevens, a clean-sweep at squash and a shocking and gruelling victory over the Chinese in the women's table tennis battle of the giants. China, however, took the men's team battle with Japan 3-1.
The lanes of the Kowloon Park Swimming Pool saw Games records tumble in all eight finals as the Chinese and Japanese dominated in four apiece.
The success story reads: China gold – Liu Zige in women's 200m butterfly (02:04.65); Chen Hujia in women's 50m breaststroke (00:30.46); Li Zhesi in women's 100m freestyle (00:54.24); and Sun Yang in men's 1500m freestyle (14:58.31). Japan gold – Tomoyo Fukuda in women's 200m backstroke (02:09.30); Ryo Tateishi in men's 100m breaststroke (01:00.06); Yosuke Mori in men's 200m individual medley (01:58.82); and the men's 4x200m freestyle team (07:10.16).
In the one day that dance sport was held at the Hong Kong International Trade and Exhibition Centre, the Chinese pair of Shen Hong and Liang Yujie, tripped the light fantastic to two golds – in the standard waltz and standard tango.
Another Chinese duet, Lu Jie and Peng Ding, won the judges' nod with their immaculate and graceful glide across the floor in slow foxtrot.
But it was not all China, as the Korean pair, Lee Sang Min and Kim Hyein, flowed like the Danube in their Viennese waltz rendition. The Japanese Ishihara Masayuki and Kubo Ayami took to the floor and showed their opponents a cheeky kick of their heels in the standard quickstep.
In the afternoon session, the dance floor came alive with pulsating Latin dances and Chinese domination continued. In the samba and rumba numbers ,China's Fan Wenbo and Chen Shiyao took gold; while Shi Lei and Zhang Baiyu did the best paso doble.
In the cha cha cha, the Japanese pair of Yuki and Kana Suzuki hit gold. And Hong Kong's Chan Hing-wai and Tin Lai-ki could not hold back tears of joy at getting the bronze.
Latin jive went to Yumiya and Rara Kubota of Japan. They also took the last dance of the night – the Latin five-dance event while Masayuki Ishihara and Kubo Ayami of Japan swept to gold in the standard five-dance event.
Over at the Tseung Kwan O Sports Centre, used for the indoor cycling event, Macau swept the two golds on offer. Sisters Kuan Sok In and Kuan Sok Mui, took the pair artistic cycling medal with a flawless display. Later, Macau's Wong Hang Cheong did the same in the single artistic final to leave Hong Kong's Yu Sum-yee with a silver.
Three golds were settled in the cue sport events. It was a thrilling finish in the 7-rack showdown between Chihiro Kawahara of Japan and Korea's Kim Ga Young in the women's nine-ball pool singles final. A ding-dong battle to the final rack was a nerve-wracking affair.
The Japanese rattled the jaws with a crucial shot, smiled and knew it was all over.
Ms Kim, who hardly showed any emotion before, did what any gold medal winner would do – a radiant show of relief. And at medal presentation, she had a playful time with the Games mascot "Dony" and "Ami".
The other cue sport matches were the men's nine-ball pool singles and the men's six-red snooker singles. Hong Kong's Kwok Chi-ho, the surprised winner of the nine-ball pool showdown with Yang Ching-Shun of Chinese Taipei, could only smile, wave to the crowd and was lost for words. The six-red snooker title went to Yu Delu of China, revenging his loss to Tian Pengfei.
In the squash women's and men's finals the Hong Kong flag was held high twice – Chiu Wing-yin beat team-mate Au Wing-chi for a Hong Kong one-two and gold and silver went to Lau Siu-wai and Lee Ho-yin in the men's contest.
In the 10-metre air pistol women's shooting final, it was Korea's Lee Ho Lim who proved too good for Guo Wenjun of China and Jo Yong Suk of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The playing fields of the Hong Kong Stadium saw Hong Kong tears flow in the men's rugby sevens final. In the dying seconds, Japan picked up a loose ball, tied the score with a try and converted for a final 26-24 tally. The magnificent seven Hong Kong boys may feel crumpled, but can hold their heads high for trying.
In the earlier women's showdown between China and Japan, the Sunday crowd were entertained to comical fumbles and mis-passes. In the end it was the more sturdy China team that took the gold. Hong Kong had to settle for a bronze.
The four taekwondo honours saw Korea with two gold (58kg men to Lim Chul Ho and 51kg women to Park Myeong Suk); Chinese Taipei's Hsu Chia Lin grab the 54kg gold; and China's Lin Ji with the 47kg women's title.
Ends/Monday, December 7, 2009