China leads in rowing at 17th Asian Games, Incheon 2014
China comfortably led the medal table at the 17th Asian Games rowing competition, ahead of Korea and Hong Kong, China. Chinese crews, fresh from their successful campaign at the World Championships in Amsterdam, won 9 out of the 14 events offered at the Tangeum Lake International Regatta Course in Chungju. A total of 234 athletes from 19 countries took part in the event, which is held every four years
The impressive Chinese dominance was challenged in the lightweight men’s double scull when the experienced combination of Hideki Omoto and Takahiro Suda of Japan led the field to take the gold medal, with Tang Chiu Mang and Chow Kwong Wing of Hong Kong, China also pushing through the tiring Chinese duo to take silver.
Vietnam mounted a strong challenge in the lightweight women’s quad, pushing China to within a second in the heats and fading by just 3 seconds in the final after a very close fought race, with Iran finishing third. The Vietnamese crew also took the bronze medal in the open category of this event, behind China and Korea, demonstrating the huge progress made by Vietnam’s women rowers over the past few years.
Host nation Korea won the gold medal in the women’s single, with Kim Yeji finishing ahead of Lee Ka Man of Hong Kong and Ta Thanh Huyen of Vietnam. A second gold for Korea came in the lightweight women’s single, with Ji Yoojin finishing ahead of Lee Ka Man, who collected her second silver medal of the Games. Soulmaz Abbasiazad of Iran finished third after mounting a strong challenge in the middle of the race.
In the men’s single sculls an excellent battle developed between Iran’s Mohsen Shadinaghadeh, Kim Dongyong of Korea and Sawarn Singh of India. Sawarn, the reigning Asian Champion, lead at the start but was unable to hold off the experienced Iranian sculler – former World Rowing Under 23 Champion in the lightweight men’s single sculls in 2008 and 2009 – and eventually dropped to third place. A fast sprinting Kim of Korea took second.
The men’s lightweight single was also hotly contested. The early leader was Lok Kwan Hoi of Hong Kong, but he was passed by Dushyant Chauhan of India who held the lead for the middle thousand meters of the race. Lok, however, pushed back into the lead going into the last quarter of the race, and then held off a fast-charging Lee Hakbeom of Korea to take Hong Kong’s first-ever Asian Games gold medal. Lee was second and Dushyant was third.
The women’s double sculls were won comfortably by China, with Kazakhstan in second and Thailand, stroked by veteran sculler Phuttharaska Neegree, in third. The Thai crew also placed third in the lightweight double behind China and Japan adding to Neegree’s impressive medal haul going back over many years.
China’s powerful World Championship crew easily dominated the men’s quad, with Korea and Kazakhstan taking silver and bronze. China were also the clear leaders in the men’s double with Chinese Taipei and Iran in second and third.
In the men’s lightweight quad, Hong Kong (World Championship finalists in 2013) challenged China in the first half of the race but, rowing into a headwind, were unable to match a powerful Chinese push in the third quarter and had to settle for second place ahead of Indonesia.
In the last race of the regatta, China comfortably led the men’s eight, but an extremely exciting battle developed between India and Japan for second place. Both crews raced side-by-side in front of cheering crowds in the grandstands with Japan finally coming out ahead to take silver and India the bronze.
A total of 234 athletes from 19 countries, with over 100 crews, took part in the rowing events at the Games. Medals were won by 11 countries with China, Korea and Hong Kong, China taking the top three positions in the final medal table.
Held every four years, the Asian Games are the largest multi-sport Games in the region and second only in scale to the Olympic Games. This year in Incheon, about 13,000 competitors from 45 nations in the Olympic Council of Asia contested 36 sports. The next Games are to be hosted by Indonesia in 2018 after Vietnam withdrew their bid to host.
Full results from rowing can be found on the Asian Rowing Federation website here: http://www.arfrowing.org/bbs/board.php?bo_table=B40
Copy thanks to Chris Perry