DOHA – Japan won a hatful of medals across the board at the Asian Games on Friday, from soft tennis to bodybuilding, with track runner Kayoko Fukushi setting the standard by powering to the gold in the women’s 10,000 meters on the first day of athletics competition.
|Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi (left) smiles with Hiromi Ominami after winning the women’s 10,000-meter race on
Friday at the Asian Games in Doha. Ominami finished third.
But on a day when Japan won golds in the billiard hall and the bowling alley, it also suffered a shock defeat in synchronized swimming, bringing to an end the nation’s total dominance of the event at the Asian Games since it was added to the competition program in Hiroshima in 1994.
At Khalifa Stadium, Fukushi left the rest of the field running in her wake for much of the race and crossed the line with a time of 31 minutes, 29.38 seconds to give Japan its first athletics gold medal of the Doha Games. Kareema Saleh Jasim of Bahrain finished a distant second in 32:17.14 after edging Japan’s Hiromi Ominami by 0.48 in a homestretch sprint duel.
Earlier Yoshiaki Oiwa had won the individual gold on the last day of the three-day equestrian competition, also helping Japan’s men’s team to the silver medal. Oiwa beat Qatar’s Abdulla Ali Abdulla Al Ejail to give Japan its first gold medal in the event since 1998, but Qatar won its first gold of the Games in the team event over three days of dressage, cross country and show jumping, with Indonesia taking bronze.
Japan muscled its way to another medal when Yoshihiro Yano took silver in the men’s 75-kg category in bodybuilding on 39 marks, short of the 15-mark golden poses of Hong Kong’s Chan Yun To, and late in the day struck gold again in the men’s five-player team bowling final with a combined total of 6,579 points to beat South Korea’s 6,428 and Saudi Arabia’s 6,349.
But there were shock waves at the Hamad Aquatic Center as synchronized swimmers Emiko Suzuki and Saho Harada suffered defeat at the hands of Chinese twins Jiang Tingting and Jiang Wenwen in the duet event. The Chinese delivered a solid free routine to outscore the 2005 world bronze medalists by 0.167 with a total of 96.584, overcoming a deficit of 0.083 after the technical routine.
Kazakhstan’s Anna Kulkina and Arna Toktagan were a distant third with 89.668.
Friday at the Asian Games in Doha. They finished second.
Japanese synchronized swimmers had not previously been beaten by any of their Chinese rivals in major international events, including the Olympics and world championships. Harada and Suzuki emerged as Japan’s top duo after Miya Tachibana and Miho Takeda, gold medalists at the previous two Asian Games, retired after winning silver at the Athens Olympics in 2004.
In triathlon, making its debut at the Asian Games, Japan’s Ai Ueda won the women’s silver medal and Akiko Sekine the bronze. Sixth after the 1.5-km swim, Ueda performed strongly in the bike portion and the 10-km run to finish behind China’s Wang Hongni in 2:04:04.81 seconds. Wang clocked 1:59:44.27 for the gold while Sekine, who had the fastest run, timed 2:4:48.42.
In other athletics action, Japan’s Masumi Aya took a second straight Asian Games bronze in the women’s hammer throw with 62.67 meters, behind Zhang Wenxiu’s golden hurl of 74.15 meters, an Asian record, and compatriot Gu Yuan’s 65.13, with Japanese national record holder Yuka Murofushi fourth with 59.74.
Murofushi’s brother Koji withdrew on the eve of the Games with a calf muscle injury, and Dilshod Nazarov of Tajikistan took advantage of the absence of the Olympic champion to capture gold with a throw of 74.43 meters. Kuwait’s Ali Zenkawi took silver with 73.14 and Japan’s Hiroaki Doi bronze with 69.45.
On the tennis court there was disappointment for Japan in the men’s team tennis final as it went down to South Korea 2-1, failing to defend the title it won in Busan four years ago.