It was a memorable day for athletes from Japan as they took home seven titles out of the dozen on offer on Saturday (12 Dec) at the 5th East Asian Games in Hong Kong.
However Chinese sprinters were triumphant as Su Bingtian and Tao Yujia became the fastest man and woman of the Games. The Chinese camp was in shock when the defending champion Hu Kai crashed out with a fifth place finish in his morning heats. But Bingtian (20) came to the rescue as he lined-up for the finals. With a clean sweep of medals in this year’s Asian Grand Prix series and fresh from his Asian Indoor Games victory, he showed perseverance while taking the challenge from Shintaro Kimura of Japan. Kimura on the outside lane reacted first to the starter’s gun. Bingtian caught him midway and surged past to become a winner in 10.33 secs.
It was a start-to-finish affair for Tao in the women’s 100m. She blasted off the blocks first and didn't relent until she crossed the finish-line to claim her maiden international title.
Japanese metric miler Yasunori Murakami eclipsed the Games’ record clocking 3:46.24 to win the men’s 1500m. Liu Qing won the women’s race to complete a double, adding to her victory in the 800m on the opening day.
China’s distance runner Li Zicheng on the other hand missed a chance for another golden double as he finished second to Kensuke Takezawa of Japan in the 10,000m. Zicheng earlier won the 5000m on Friday.
In the absence of defending champion Huang Xiaoxio, Japan’s Miyabi Tago took the 400m Hurdles in a cake-walk. Her teammate and Asian Games bronze medallist Naohiro Kawakita claimed the men’s title in a modest 50.61 secs, in the process shocking the Chinese national-record holder and the recent National Games victor Meng Yan, who finished runner-up.
In a seesaw battle for the top honours in the men’s Pole Vault, Japan’s Hiroki Ogita overwhelmed compatriot Hiroki Sasase. Both scaled an identical 5.30m, but Ogita won on count-back. Interestingly all three medalists in the High Jump cleared 2.18m. Here again another Japanese Hikaru Tsuchiya pushed his Chinese rivals to minor placings as he took a minimum number jumps to clear the winning height.
Hammer thrower Wang Zheng was the best performer for China as she clinched the gold with a 67.06m effort. Hye Kyung Jung brought the only gold for Korea with her victory in the women’s Triple Jump.
Ram. Murali Krishnan for the IAAF
100m (0.1): 1. Su Bingtian CHN 10.33, 2. Shintaro Kimura JPN 10.39, 3. Yi Wei-Chen TPE 10.45;