GUANGZHOU (China): An extraordinary Asian Games on Saturday closed after 15 days of thrills and spills that saw China reinforce its sporting credentials and Japan slip further behind.
On the last day of action at an Asiad unprecedented in size and scale, China fittingly won the last gold at stake when their women’s volleyball team toppled South Korea 3-2 in a thrilling finale.
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Zhou Chunxiu earlier added yet more gold to their glittering haul by defending her women’s marathon title with teammate Zhu Xiaolin taking silver and North Korea’s Kim Kum-Ok the bronze.
South Korea’s Ji Youngjun won the men’s race.
The volleyball success pushed the host nation’s final gold tally to 199 and its total medals to a whopping 416 — both Asian Games records. While China basked in its most successful Asiad ever, its arch-rival Japan performed worse then expected, winning just 48 titles for an overall 216 total medals.
It left them well behind South Korea, who claimed 76 gold and 232 medals altogether. While the traditional big three dominated, 36 of the 45 countries and territories taking part managed to climb the podium, with some notable successes.
Macau won its first gold medal ever through Jia Rui in the men’s wushu and Bangladesh matched that breakthrough, claiming the men’s cricket title in an exciting victory over Afghanistan.
Oman and Nepal propped up the table with a single bronze each, but there was no joy for minnows like Timor-Leste, Maldives, Turkmenistan, Brunei and Cambodia. There were three world records (two in weightlifting and one in archery) as well as 103 Asian records.
Like the widely-acclaimed curtain-raiser, the closing ceremony was held not inside a stadium but on a boat-shaped island in the middle of the Pearl River, which meanders through the heart of China’s third-largest city. This time it celebrated Asia’s diverse cultures, with music and dance from India, Lebanon, Japan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
The 16th Asian Games, part of the worldwide Olympic movement and governed by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) came to a close on Saturday with Guangzhou taking its place as a major world destination.
The Asian Games are the second largest sports event in the world after the Summer Olympic Games, said a message received by ‘Pakistan Times’ [Daily e-Newspaper] from Jeff Ruffolo, Executive Advisor – Chief Communications Officer of the 16th Asian Games on Saturday. .
During night-long Closing Ceremony on Haixinsha Island, the theme was ‘Please Leave Your Song Behind’, echoing the theme of the Opening Ceremony. Asian Games flag handover ceremony also took place in the Closing Ceremony from Guangzhou to 2014 Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee.
Team China dominated the medal count of The 16th Asian Games with more than 400 medals. Korea finished second with more than 230 team medals and Team Japan ended with more than 210 medals.
Prior to Closing Ceremony, Xu Ruisheng, Executive Deputy Secretary General of the Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee was effusive in his praise of Games organizers.
He denoted that the Guangzhou Asian Games was the largest in OCA history with 9,704 athletes from 45 Asian countries and regions attended the Games along with 4,983 team officials, 4,191 technical officials and 9,939 media professionals from 888 media organizations.
Medalists came from 36 NOC delegations … with gold medals won by 28 of the countries and regions taking part. As of November 26, two athletes broke three World Records three times; one athlete equaling one World Record one time and one team with nine athletes broke 12 Asian Games records 14 times.
A total 1,400 random doping tests have been carried out, including both urine tests and blood tests with only two positive test results.
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The Transport Service Dispatch Centre setup 492 bus lines in total for the needs of arrival and departure, competition or media reporting. Among these lines, there were 213 lines for athletes, 162 for the technical officials and 117 for the media.
More than 60,000 Games-time volunteers worked at 53 competition venues, 11 non-competition venues, more than 16 independent training venues and 20 specialized work teams, providing variety of services, such as protocol reception, language services, security, medical services, spectator services, coordination and liaison, competition support, venue operation support, finance management and cultural event support for the Games.
The 16th Asian Games was approved and governed by the Olympic Council of Asia and was held in ‘Flower City’ of Guangzhou from November 12 – 27, 2010. More than 14,000 athletes and team officials from 45 countries and regions competed in 42 sports. More than 9,900 accredited and non-accredited worldwide media were on hand to cover the Games with more than two million spectators in attendance.
Meanwhile, another report says; Olympic Council of Asia President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said on Saturday that the Asian Games in Guangzhou would go down in history as “one of the best ever”.
The 16th Asian Games were unprecedented in both size and scale in the 59-year history of the quadrennial event. More than 10,000 athletes from 45 countries and regions have participated in a record 42 sports ranging from archery to chess.On the last day of the two-week-long competition, Sheikh Ahmad told a press conference held at the Main Press Center that the OCA was satisfied with the Chinese organizers’ work.
“The city of Guangzhou has done a very great job for the Asian Olympic Movement and for the Asian Olympic family,” he said. “It was one of the best ever (edition) in the history of Asian Olympic Movement.” When asked to compare the Guangzhou Games with previous editions, the OCA chief was quick to note that each games have their own features. “Our target is to make the Asian Games better, and this is our job,” said Sheikh Ahmad. “Each Games have different aims, have different situations.”
Wei Jizhong, OCA’s deputy honorary life president from China, echoed these comments. “The features of Doha and Guangzhou Asian Games have enriched the OCA legacy. This legacy facilitates future organizers to perform well,” said Wei, who is also the president of world volleyball’s governing body FIVB.
As of Friday, three world records fell in archery and weightlifting, and 12 Asian records were broken in swimming and cycling. In the meantime, 36 countries and regions have won medals. More than 1,400 dope tests have been carried out, and only two returned positive results. “I am very happy with all the results which we have achieved in our Games,” said Sheikh Ahmad.