HANGZHOU: India claimed the first world record of the Hangzhou Asian Games on Monday as hosts China snapped up more gold medals and a nine-year-old skateboarder melted hearts. The Indian trio of Divyansh Panwar, Rudrankksh Patil and Aishwary Tomar blew away the field with a new world best 1,893.7 points to win the men’s 10m air rifle team event on day two of the multi-sports extravaganza. They beat the previous mark of 1,893.3 set by China last month and in doing so won India’s first gold of a Games where the hosts have swept 32 of the 51 titles decided so far.
“In the 10m event they are both perfect athletes,” Tomar said of his teammates. “Playing with them is huge, it’s really good.” India claimed their second gold in the afternoon when they defeated Sri Lanka in the final of the women’s cricket by 19 runs. Another shooting world record fell to Chinese teenager Sheng Lihao in the men’s 10m air rifle with his 253.3 points surpassing teammate Yu Haonan’s 252.8 from Rio four years ago. “I had good luck in the final. I did quite well today, I was basically smooth,” said the 18-year-old, a Tokyo Olympic silver medallist.
In other action, Mazel Paris Alegado—aged just nine—said it was “so fun” competing in skateboarding. Thought to be the youngest athlete in Hangzhou and representing the Philippines, she qualified for the “women’s” park final and came seventh out of eight. The competition was won by comparative veteran Hinano Kusaki from Japan, aged 15. China’s Chen Ye, also just 15, won the men’s park in skateboarding. Swimming sensation Qin Haiyang added another title to his name to inflate China’s already bulging gold-medal haul on Monday at the Asian Games, while a nine-year-old skateboarder melted hearts.
The hosts enjoyed success in gymnastics, fencing, rowing, shooting, taekwondo and mountain biking to top the medals table in Hangzhou with 39 golds at the end of the second full day of action. South Korea and Japan are their closest competitors with a distant 10 and five golds respectively. China romped to all seven titles on the opening day of swimming on Sunday in an ominous display ahead of next summer’s Paris Olympics, but they did not have it all their own way a day later. South Korea’s Ji Yu-chan set a new Asian Games record in the men’s 50m freestyle of 21.72secs in a shock win ahead of Hong Kong’s Ian Ho (21.87) and teenage Chinese star Pan Zhanle (21.92).
Olympic silver medallist Siobhan Haughey clinched Hong Kong’s first Asian Games swimming gold ever with an emphatic victory in the 200m freestyle in a sizzling 1min 54.12sec, another Games record. “It’s very special,” she said. South Korea’s night got even better when they took gold ahead of the hosts in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay in another surprise. The other four races all went the way of China’s swimmers, with the hulking 24-year-old Qin adding Games 100m breaststroke gold to his recent world title. Qin, also the 50m and 200m world champion, romped home in a new Games-record time of 57.76secs, a gaping 1.33sec ahead of teammate Yan Zibei.
But don’t call him the “Breaststroke Prince”. “Maybe just call me a breaststroke swimmer,” he said modestly. The hosts rounded off another dominant day with gold ahead of Japan in the women’s team event of the artistic gymnastics. “Whilst in the match we both cheered each other on and we respect each other,” Chinese gymnast Zhang Xinyi said of regional rivals Japan.
World records fell in shooting with India and China both displaying pinpoint precision. The Indian trio of Divyansh Panwar, Rudrankksh Patil and Aishwary Tomar blew away the field with a new world best to win the men’s 10m air rifle team event. In skateboarding, Mazel Paris Alegado probably ought to have been in primary school, but instead she was in the “women’s” park final.
Thought to be the youngest athlete at the Games and representing the Philippines, she just about avoided the wooden spoon by coming seventh out of eight. Japan’s Hinano Kusaki, a comparative veteran at 15, won gold. China’s Chen Ye, who is the same age, won the men’s event. Alegado, who turned nine in March and reportedly comes from California, said she got into skateboarding when she saw her brother doing it while they were at a cousin’s house.
Asked what it was like to take part in a major international competition, Alegado said: “I was so excited because I was about to skate the Asian Games—and I just did, so it was so fun!” North Korea, competing in their first major international sporting event since the pandemic, added silvers in men’s team shooting and women’s judo to their lone bronze. Away from the action, between 150 and 200 athletes have been tested for doping, the Olympic Council of Asia said, with no positive results.