JAKARTA: The weight of medals in a record haul at the Asian Games for Rikako Ikee will increase the weight of expectations on her at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 18-year-old Japanese swimmer capped off her remarkable week in the Jakarta pool by winning the 50-meter freestyle Friday night for her sixth gold and her eighth medal overall at the meet. That equaled the total medal mark for a single Asian Games set in 1982 by North Korean shooter So Gin Man.
With six gold and two silver medals, she’s the most successful female athlete ever at one edition of the continental games.
“Of all my races I was the most nervous before this one,” Ikee was quoted as saying. “I really didn’t think I was going to win. But at the end, I absolutely did not want to lose.”
She held off China’s Liu Xiang and Wu Qingfeng to win in 24.53 seconds. It followed wins in the 100 freestyle, the 50 and the 100 butterfly and two relays. She also competed at the Pan Pacs in Tokyo against swimmers from the United States and Australia and won a gold medal there in the 100 fly before coming to Jarkata.
It has been a big program for Ikee, who is aiming to be one of the stars in the pool in two years at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Chinese backstroker Xu Jiayu finished the games with five gold medals and three-time Olympic champion Sun Yang completed his dominance in the freestyle by winning the 1,500-meters. He finished the games with four gold ? the earlier three coming in the 200, 400 and 800 ? and two relay silvers.
Japan and China finished with 19 golds apiece in swimming, giving the Chinese the edge in the duel in the pool with 52 medals overall to 50 for the Japanese. The only other people to top the podium were Joseph Schooling, who won two butterfly golds for Singapore, and Kim Seo-yeong of South Korea, who won the women’s 200 individual medley.
In what would have been unthinkable in India before the Asian Games, there’ll be no kabaddi gold medals for the spiritual home of the sport.
A day after Iran stunned the seven-time champion Indian men in the semifinals, the Iranians won the women’s title with a 27-24 thriller over India on Friday.
Too bad for India, which has long dominated a sport that blends tag and tackle with wrestling moves.
India’s woes continued when former No. 1-ranked Kidambi Srikanth was upset 23-21, 21-19 in the second round of men’s singles in the badminton by Vincent Wong of Hong Kong.
Until Friday, no cyclist had won both the road race and the individual time trial at the same Asian Games. Now two cyclists have done it.
South Korea’s Na Ah-reum won the women’s time trial to complete the double and Kazakstan’s Alexey Lutsenko made it back-to-back golds by winning the men’s time trial.
Japan won its fifth consecutive Asian Games softball gold medal with a 7-0 shutout against Taiwan.
The first Asian Games gold medal ever awarded in ju-jitsu, and Cambodia’s first medal for the 2018 games, went to Jessa Khan, who beat Mahra Alhinaai of the United Arab Emirates in the women’s 49-kilogram class.
Kim Hyo Sim won North Korea’s fifth gold medal in weightlifting with victory in the women’s 63-kilogram division, beating teammate and Olympic silver medalist Choe Hyo Sim.
The first doping case of the Jakarta-Palembang games was registered against a wrestler from Turkmenistan. The Olympic Council of Asia said Rustem Nazarov, who lost in the quarterfinals of the 57-kilogram division, tested positive for the banned diuretic furosemide. —AP