JAKARTA: Olympic champion Joseph Schooling showed who’s boss as he trounced the competition to successfully defend his 100 metres butterfly title and win Singapore’s first gold medal at the Asian Games yesterday.
Schooling was a rising star when he won at Incheon 2014 but, returning as one of the region’s premier athletes, he swam a Games-record 51.04sec to beat China’s Li Zhuhao into second place.
Otherwise it was Japan’s night in the Jakarta pool as the 2020 Olympics hosts edged China by four wins to three to draw level at 14 golds apiece at the top of the swimming medals table.
Sun Yang’s bid for a record ninth Games title for China was derailed by Japan in the 4x100m freestyle relay, while Japanese starlet Rikako Ikee’s attempt for a fifth gold in Jakarta was halted by Chinese opposition in the 4x100m mixed medley relay.
At the end of day four, China were leading the overall medals table with 38 golds, ahead of Japan on 20 and South Korea with 11.
Paragliding’s Games debut saw two hair-raising crashes with Afghanistan’s Lida Hozoori and Wang Jianwei of China both helicoptered to hospital.
Hozoori, a TV presenter in Afghanistan, plunged 15 metres (50 feet) to the ground after stalling in mid-air, emergency services said. Team-mates told AFP her injuries were not serious.
Wang suffered a broken leg when his parachute folded 20 metres from the finishing area. Paragliding has come under scrutiny following the death of Hong Kong flier Patrick Chung last month.
In badminton, former world champion Nozomi Okuhara beat He Bingjiao as Japan downed China 3-1 to win the women’s team title.
But China silenced a baying home crowd when they beat Indonesia 3-1 in the men’s team final.
All-around champion Lin Chaopan led China to an emphatic win over Japan, missing stars such as “King Kohei” Uchimura, in the men’s team gymnastics final.
And Hossein Nouri was swamped by fans after winning the 87kg Greco-Roman category as Iran finished the wrestling as top dogs with five gold medals.
Earlier, South Korean cyclist Na Ah-reum won the women’s road race to claim her second Asian Games gold medal in sweltering conditions near Jakarta.
In temperatures reaching 32 Celsius (90 Fahrenheit), the 2014 time trial champion crossed the line in 2hr 55min 47sec, 80 seconds ahead of China’s Pu Yixian.
About 17,000 athletes and officials are taking part in the two-week, 40-sport Games - the biggest sports event in Indonesia’s history.