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Chinese speedskater wins first gold at Asian Winter Games

Chinese speedskater wins first gold at Asian Winter Games

A student from northern China won the first gold of the Asian Winter Games on Monday with a record-setting win in the women's 3,000-meter speedskating race.
China followed that up with the first gold on the snow when veteran biathlete Liu Xianying won the women's 7.5-kilometer sprint and another in short track speedskating, while archrival Japan rebounded with golds in speedskating, snowboarding and the biathlon.
In the opening race of the games, Wang Fei, skating in the last group, set an Asian record of 4 minutes and 13.08 seconds, beating the previous mark of 4:15.86 set by Japan's Nani Nemoto in 2005.
Japanese skaters Masako Hozumi and Maki Tabata finished second and third in 4:15.42 and 4:17.00, respectively.
"I want to thank my country and my people. I am so excited to win the gold medal on my home soil," said Wang, a 24-year-old university student from Heilongjiang province in northern China.
Wang said skating after Hozumi had earlier broken the Asian record did not add any extra pressure. "It just made me more determined," she said.
China is aiming to regain the top spot in the medal standings after finishing third behind Japan and South Korea at the last Asian Winter Games in Aomori, Japan, in 2003.
That effort was helped by Liu, who missed just two shots in a strong wind to win the biathlon in a time of 25:19.28 seconds. Kong Yingchao in second place and Dong Xue with the bronze completed the sweep for China.
China also took gold in the men's 1,500-meter short track speedskating when Sui Baoku edged out South Korean Olympic triple gold medalist Ahn Hyun-soo. China's Li Ye finished third.
Japan bounced back in the women's snowboard halfpipe, with Shino Nakashima winning the gold ahead of teammate Soko Yamaoka, while China's Liu Jiayu finished third.
Japan also picked up a gold in the men's 5,000-meter speedskating when Hioki Hirako finished in a time of 6:39.71 to break the Asian record of 6:41.62 set by Dmitriy Babenko of Kazakhstan in 2005. Babenko finished third while South Korea's Yeo Sang-yeop took the silver medal.
Japan's third gold came from Hidenori Isa, who did not miss any shots in finishing 7.67 seconds ahead of China's Zhang Chengye, who missed four, in the men's 10-kilometer biathlon. China's Zhang Qing was third.
South Korea won its first gold when Jung Eun-ju finished ahead of teammate Jin Sun-yu, a triple gold medal winner at the Turin Olympics, and China's Wang Meng in the women's 1,500-meter short track speedskating.
In men's ice hockey, tournament favorite Kazakhstan rolled over Thailand 52-1.
More than 1,100 athletes and officials from 26 countries and regions are taking part in the games in Changchun, a northeastern Chinese city of 7 million people, that run until Feb. 4, the last major multi-sport event in China before the 2008 Summer Olympics at Beijing.
There has been a lack of snow at the Beidahu ski resort near Changchun, venue for the skiing and cross-country events, but organizers have used artificial snow to make up the shortfall.
China has a 234-member delegation, including 160 athletes, the most of any country. Japan, South Korea and Kazakhstan have all sent more than 100 competitors.


Updated : 2021-04-17 05:31 GMT+08:00