Chinese athletes set to shine at Asian Games

Chinese athletes aim to show their class in the Asian Games track and field on Tuesday after a row over talented imported from Africa.

Xia Wenjun will go for China’s eighth successive 110 metres hurdles victory, taking up the mantle for injury-hobbled former Olympic champion Liu Xiang.

Li Jinzhe leads the field in the men’s long jump, and he appears well placed to set a new Asian record on day three of the athletics competition.

As day 11 gets underway, China lead the way on the medals table with 112 gold medals from a possible 282, 68 ahead of second-placed hosts South Korea.

Winning performances from African-born track and field athletes representing Gulf states has helped slow China’s charge, four years after their record 199 titles in 2010.

Qatar’s Nigeria-born Femi Ogunode relegated China’s Su Bingtan and Kei Takase of Japan to second and third as he set an Asian record 9.93sec in the men’s 100m.

And teenager Ruth Jebet, who switched from Kenyan to Bahrain nationality last year, won the women’s 3,000m steeplechase ahead of China’s Li Zhenzhu.

But the Asian power will expect to grab gold through Xia and Li on day four of the athletics competition at Incheon Main Stadium.

– ‘My goal is to win’ –

Xia, heir to former world record-holder Liu, is the man to beat in the sprint hurdles after setting a personal best of 13.23sec this year.

Long jumper Li Jinzhe improved his personal best three times this year, and recorded last year’s fourth-longest leap in the world at 8.34m.

His personal best of 8.47, already more than 30 centimetres over the Games record, is just one centimetre shy of Asia’s best set by Saudi Arabia’s Mohamed Al Khuwalidi in 2006.

Hosts South Korea and North Korea play Thailand and Iraq respectively as they aim to set up an emotional men’s football final between the technically warring states.

India’s multiple world champion Mary Kom is up against Vietnam’s Le Thi Bang in the women’s 51kg semi-finals as she goes for Asian gold.

Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun, whose career scalps include Britain’s Wimbledon winner Andy Murray, will defend his men’s tennis title against Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan.

“It’s going to be another tough match because he is a great player. We both should be happy, win or lose because we are representing our countries and will get medals,” said Lu.

“But of course my goal is to win.”

China’s Chen Ruolin and Liu Hiuxia, and Cao Yuan and Lin Yue will expect diving wins in the women’s 10m synchronised and the men’s 3m springboard synchronised.

Hong Kong take on Malaysia and Sri Lanka play South Korea for a place in the men’s cricket semi-finals.

There are also medals in mountain biking, bowling, wrestling and equestrian in venues scattered around South Korea’s third city, west of Seoul.


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