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China wins first gold at Doha as rain disrupts first official day

China wins first gold at Doha as rain disrupts first official day

China's shooters overcame rain and chilly weather in this desert city Saturday to win the first gold medals at the Doha Asian Games.
China was 2-0 after the first two medal finals on the first official day of competition after wins in the men's 10-meter air rifle team event and the women's team trap.
South Korea took the 10-meter air rifle team silver, while India had the bronze. Pakistan claimed the women's team trap silver, ahead of bronze medalist South Korea.
According to the local tourism authority, Qatar enjoys sunshine almost every day of the year, but the formal competition program opened with the temperature barely reaching 20 C (68 F) and under steady rain, hampering early events.
"The rain is totally unexpected and it will cause problems," said Doha organizing committee media director Patrick Furlong. "We ask for patience because we are facing some difficult times."
Staff at Hamad Aquatic Centre worked through the night to mop up storm water covering the competition areas, with the venue's area managers called in at 2 a.m. local time to help clean up.
Equipment was floating in puddles of water 10 centimeters (4 inches) deep by the diving pool.
The start of the outdoor soft tennis competition was delayed due to rain and wet courts, with no time set for the start of play.
A leak in the roof at the games' showpiece Aspire indoor venue caused delays to the badminton, while play on one court was abandoned while workers attempted to stem water dripping onto the playing area.
"Even a few drops of water on the fields of play are dangerous," said Singaporean referee Mohan Dharan.
The start of the much anticipated women's team match between favorite China and Indonesia was delayed by 10 minutes, as was the Japan-Taiwan encounter.
Friday night's opening ceremonies went off without disruption, despite heavy rains leading up to the event and showers and strong wind during it.
Getting to and from Khalifa Stadium for the ceremonies proved a little more difficult, with some athletes complaining of long waits in the rain as bus services were pushed to the limit.
"There were 220 buses to pick up the athletes and return them to the Athlete's Village," said Ahmed Abdulla Al Khulaifi, Doha organizing committee deputy director general Saturday. "When the rain started, they (the athletes) tried to rush to the buses and they became very crowded. We tried to let them know that there were more buses."
Hisayoshi Chono hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Japan's all amateur team a 10-7 win over defending champion South Korea (0-2) in the baseball competition.
Japan's win improves its chances of setting up a gold medal showdown with an undefeated Taiwan team studded with U.S. major league players. Taiwan was to play Thailand later Saturday.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge spoke at the Olympic Council of Asia meeting in Doha on Saturday, and again issued an appeal for the release of Iraqi Olympic officials who were kidnapped in July.
Rogge urged the captors to release Iraq Olympic Committee chairman Ahmed al-Hijiya and 30 other people who were taken hostage at gunpoint during a brazen daylight raid on a sports conference in Baghdad.
"The Iraqi NOC president and his colleagues were kidnapped four months ago and they're all still missing. Please let them free," he said. "Let them return home to their families so that they can work for youth and peace in their country."
Sunday's forecast is for sunny weather and a high of 20 C (68 F). Some 24 gold medals will be on offer, including swimming, the men's cycling road race, the women's team event in artistic gymnastics, judo, shooting, weightlifting, table tennis and bowling.


Updated : 2021-10-16 17:35 GMT+08:00