Stars shine, veterans impress, youngsters promise at Asiad

16:00, November 29, 2010      

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The 16th Asian Games may be remembered for years for furious medal battles, but will be carried for decades through people who shed tears, sweat or even blood in competition.

Among them are comeback stars, who had fallen off the peak but refused a quick withdrawal. They restated their form here, shaking off all the doubts against them.

Hurdler Liu Xiang, one of the most spotlight-catching athletes at the Asiad which was referred by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah as "one of the best ever", returned to his old style with a record-breaking performance.

The 2004 Olympic winner stormed to a new Asian record of 13.09 seconds Wednesday evening for his third straight Asiad title in the Men's 110m Hurdles, drawing loads of praises from both media and fans.

After 27 months of accumulation of energy, the 27-year-old, having recovered from an Achilles' tendon problem, announced the comeback of a king and that the Chinese Flying Man is ready to take off again.

Four-time Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima was the one to watch but failed to deliver. He finished fourth in the 50m and 100m Breaststroke and withdrew from the 200m, citing a nagging pain in his right shoulder, right elbow and left knee.

The 28-year-old, who took a year off before Guangzhou after capping the 100-200 Metres Double at the previous two Asian Games and the last two Olympics, has however vowed to bounce back after his injury-hit Asian Games.

"I forced myself to train for these Games by nursing pain," he told Japanese media after his country finished a distant second with nine Swimming gold medals behind the hosts China.

"I want to take care of my body because this is not the end," Kitajima added. "A regret is a regret. I want to refresh myself thoroughly,"

Other veterans impressed the world with their persistence.

Once a Dallas Maverick, China's first NBA player Wang Zhizhi played a key leadership in China's 77-71 final victory over Arch Rivals Korea as well as in their title-defending campaign.

In gratitude to his heroic performance, team players all put their gold medals around Wang's neck and playfully bowed to him following the award ceremony.

"I will continue to play for the national team and with Bayi (his club) if they want me," Wang confirmed after his last Asiad. "I will try my best to stay in top condition and hopefully I can play in the 2012 London Olympics."

Japanese Kimiko Date Krumm saw her hopes of a second Asiad Singles gold, 16 years after her first, shattered by China's Peng Shuai in the semifinals, but the 40-year-old promised to stay on court for at least another year.

She stunned former world No. 1 Dinara Safina at the French Open to become the oldest player in history to defeat a top 10 woman, and the former world No. 9 plans to continue on the grueling tour in 2011.

Another veteran's show made Tuesday Shooting competition a little nostalgic as 1992 Olympic champion Zhang Shan led her younger teammates to the skeet team title.

"When I was in the Asian Games 20 years ago, I won both the Individual and Team titles. Now I am still competing, with a much younger generation," said the 42-year-old, winner of the one and only Olympic open Skeet event which was canceled after the 1992 Asian Games.

Fortunately for world sports, the moving moments of these Games is not just about the past.

Lao Yi, a 25-year-old local athlete, turned out to be the brightest freshman on international stage.

The sprinter led the team to the 4x100m gold after becoming the first Chinese to lift the Men's 100 Metres at the Asiad.

In the Women's 10,000 Metres, India's Preeja Sreedharan, who was fifth in the 2006 Asian Games, broke away to take the surprising win.

"I knew that in the last two kilometres I had to push myself," Sreedharan said. "I didn't expect a title here but the gold medal will sure do a lot help to my family."

Huang Hsien Yung of Chinese Taipei, just 17 years old, kicked off the Asiad Taekwondo Tournament by beating Dana Touran of Jordan in the Women's 46kg final.

She described her first ever international title as an intro through which "the world starts to know me".

An even younger diver, Hu Yadan, 14, began China's clean sweep of Diving golds by winning the Women's 10m Platform title.

The 1.45 metres tall surprised the world with her dexterity when she won a diving Grand Prix event in Madrid last year and looks to be a strong contender at the 2012 London Olympics.

Also there was Hong Kong, China's rider Wong Wan Yiu, who was injured in a crash but held on to the end for a Women's Cycling Silver.

The journey of Iraq's sole shuttler Yara Azad is another story. The 24-year-old only played 26 minutes on Guangzhou court without a coach behind him, but his sportsmanship has moved many people and may be remembered for good.

Source: Xinhua


(Editor:李牧(实习))

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