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Over the hill and more Games record tumble

The following is issued on behalf of the 2009 East Asian Games (HK) Ltd:

     Driving in Hong Kong's hilly terrain can be quite an experience... ask any driver. The foot on the pedal going up is never off. Once you've reached the top (the half-way stage) you know that the way down will be relatively easy.

     But you have to be wary of the wet and slippery surface (tennis officials at the Victoria Park Tennis Centre will tell you). Games delayed overnight were played sporadically between drizzles and clear weather to make up the growing backlog.

     At day's end there were a number of quarter-finals games decided, but a few interrupted and rescheduled.

     Day Seven of the Fifth East Asian Games yesterday (December 8) has been relatively comfortable as the cruise to the climactic weekend comes nearer and nearer.

     And the Games log tallied more tumbling records, with 20 golds on offer – eight for swimming action, six for the taekwondo finale at Shek Kip Mei Park Sports Centre and the odd one or two for shooting, bowling and weightlifting.

     Again it was in the swim lanes of the Kowloon Park Swimming Pool where the rising stars of Asian aquatics, in their new swimsuits, splashed their way to new marks in six of the eight finals.

     In the women's final, Liu Jing of China took gold (without a record) in the 200m freestyle; Jiao Liuyang of China (record) in the 100m butterfly; Chen Huijia of China (record) in the 100m breaststroke; and Japan's Natsumi Iwashita taking the 1,500m freestyle.

     All four men's events saw records rewritten by Japanese. In the 50m backstroke it was Ryosuke Irie; the 200m breaststroke to Ryo Tateishi; the 400m individual medley to Yuya Horihata; and the 4x100m freestyle relay.  

     At the end of all competitions tonight, the China 76-medal scoreboard reads: 31 gold, 27 silver and 18 bronze. Japan: 25 gold, 18 silver and 24 bronze. Korea: 20 gold, 13 silver and 24 bronze.   

     The day's earliest gold was presented to Maki Konomoto of Japan in the 10-metre air rifle shooting for women. Her total of 501.4 in 10 rounds pipped China's Yi Siling who scored 500.7 points. The bronze went to Gu Sura of Korea.

     It was men first on the lanes of the Hong Kong International Trade and Exhibition Centre's bowling alleys where the Japanese doubles team of Tomoyuki Sasaki and Nobuhito Fujii snatched victory with a six-game total of 2,596 pins (average 432.7). Silver (2,564 pins) and the bronze (another 32 pins behind) went to teams from Chinese Taipei.

     All three pairs from Korea stood on the winners' rostrum when the women's bowling doubles took to the lanes. Shin Bo Hyun and Gye Min Young rolled down 2,645 pins for top spot, 27 more than silver's Son Yun Hee and Jeon Eun Hee. Bronze went to Hwang Sun Ok and Gang Hye Eun.

     Of the three golds decided in weightlifting, Li Ping of China had a Games record clean and jerk haul of 122 kilogrammes and a combined weight of 215kg. She snatched victory ahead of Paek Un Hui of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea who could only manage 201kg in the women's 53kg finals.

     The massive haul of 321kg combined weight brought the men's 69kg gold to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Kim Kum Sok, just one kilogramme ahead of Tang Deshang of China.

     In the final 58kg women's competition, it was the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's Jong Chun Mi who scored with a Games record 232kg combined weight. China's Li Xueying, who pushed upward a Games record 231kg haul, had to settle for the silver.

     The "poligras" surface of the King's Park Hockey Ground saw the sparkle of Hong Kong delight when the ladies team smashed in the first goal in the fourth second of their semi-final crunch match with Chinese Taipei.

     Hong Kong did not expect the punishing determination they faced in the second half. Wave after wave of Chinese Taipei attacks led to a goal in the 14th minute of the half and both teams shook hands all-square.

     In the men's clash between Japan and Korea, there was little to separate the two and it was not until the second half that the Koreans broke through and went one ahead. All's well that ends well as the Japanese knocked one back to equalise with two minutes remaining.

     Soccer aficionados in Hong Kong turned out in force at the Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground for a crucial encounter between the home team and the side from China. With a medal-chance date at the Hong Kong Stadium awaiting, both sides played hard and fast. But in the end it was China that won 1-0.

     The four basketball semi-final – two men's and two women's – clashes brought the sweaty best from all sides. In the Chinese Taipei-Korea women's meet the result was 78-58 for the host. The next distaff showdown saw China just edge Japan by two points (79-77) .

     In the men's games, the Koreans proved too strong in their 91-59 victory over China, while in the Japan-Chinese Taipei match it was the Japanese team that lost by another 69-67 close finish.  

     There was high drama on the volleyball court as the women's Japan team beat the Koreans 3-1 and China overpowered Hong Kong 3-0 for a final showdown in the Hong Kong Coliseum today.

     The taekwondo floor of the Shek Kip Mei Sports Centre belonged to Korea as their national flag went up for all six medals at stake – three men's and three women's.

     In squash, Hong Kong supremacy continued within the plexi-glass cubicles used for the team semifinals. The women's pair head into today's final after powering through Korea 2-0 and will meet Japan, who beat China 2-0.

     The men's team racketeers will see today final showdown between Hong Kong (beating Korea 2-0) and Japan, who stopped Macau 2-0.

     With two races over on Monday, windsurfers from five participating countries took to the waters off Stanley for three more races yesterday. Women competitors glided around in the RS:X class only, but the men had to handle the larger sail RS:X races and the light and heavy Mistral races.

     With another two races scheduled for today, the front-runners in the men's races are Hong Kong's Leung Ho-tsun and Cheng Kwok-fai with Chan Wai-kei of Hong Kong ahead of the women contest with 4 net points.

Ends/Wednesday, December 9, 2009


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