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Asian Games 2023: Record-breaking China's unparalled dominance second to none

Updated on: 08 October,2023 04:18 PM IST  |  Hangzhou
mid-day online correspondent |

Asian Games 2023: Hosts China finished with a record 201 gold medals as the curtain comes down on two weeks of triumphs and tears on Sunday

Asian Games 2023: Record-breaking China's unparalled dominance second to none

China's Li Ranran (R) and Nepal's Shrestha Sabina Shrestha (L) compete in the women's Karate 50kg bout (Pic: AFP)

Hosts China finished with a record 201 gold medals as the curtain comes down on two weeks of triumphs and tears at the Asian Games 2023 on Sunday.

The biggest Asiad event ever will wrap up later in the day with a closing ceremony at the 80,000-capacity Olympic stadium, with China handing over to Japan for 2026. The Games normally happen every four years but Nagoya-Aichi has a shorter run-up because Hangzhou was postponed by a year due to China's now-abandoned zero-Covid measures.

Taiwan's Gu Shiau-shuang won the final gold when she successfully defended her title in the women's karate -50kg kumite class. But it was the hosts who dominated the overall medals table, their 201 golds beating the 199 they collected at Guangzhou 2010. Their exploits across the 40 sports at the Games reinforced China's status as Asia's sporting superpower, topping the medals table at every Asian Games since 1982.

With about 12,000 athletes in total, this was the biggest Asian Games in history. Organisers will congratulate themselves on a job well done, in what was China's return to staging a major sporting event following the pandemic. Crowds waving mini Chinese flags regularly filled up the 54 venues.

"Technically we have had one of the finest Asian Games ever," said Olympic Council of Asia acting director general Vinod Kumar Tiwari. "We have had 97 Games records, 26 Asian records and 13 world records, so the standard has been very, very high and we are very happy with it."

World records tumbled in shooting and weightlifting, with North Korea celebrating their return to the global sporting arena after four years away by hoovering up six weightlifting golds. But the hoisting of their flag -- in contravention of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sanctions -- was a running controversy in Hangzhou and is yet to be resolved. The scourge of doping was also never far away: seven athletes failed drugs tests and more will likely be announced in the coming days.

Also Read: Golden double for India’s men, women kabaddi teams

Paris on the horizon!

The Paris Olympics are less than 10 months away, adding an extra incentive for athletes. Nine sports, among them boxing, break dancing and tennis, served as qualifiers for Paris. Breakdancing was appearing at the Asian Games for the first time, ahead of its Olympic bow, while eSports was a huge hit on its full debut.

Japan were a distant second in the final medals table with 52 golds, down from 75 at Jakarta in 2018, and South Korea were third on 42. India's pinpoint archers and shooters helped propel the country to 107 medals in total, their best showing ever.

China has now hosted the Asian Games a total of three times, after Guangzhou 2010 and Beijing 1990, and OCA honorary life vice-president Wei Jizhong rated it the most successful.

"We don't rank Asian Games against other Games on who was the best," said Wei, who is Chinese and has attended 11 Asiads. "But in terms of the Games in China, I give it a mark of 99. Why 99? There is always room for improvement."

(With agency inputs)

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