SAPPORO, Japan, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) — Speed skater Lee Seung-hoon claimed his fourth gold medal at the eighth Asian Winter Games, but his home country South Korea was surpassed by Japan in the medal table here on Thursday.
Japan now led with 14 gold, 15 silver and 16 bronze, while South Korea trailed with a sheet of 14-12-10. China ranked third with 6-6-6.
Lee, winner of the the men’s 5,000m, 10,000m and team pursuit in the Asiad, added a mass start title on the day at Obihiro Forest Speed Skating Rink, some 200 kilometers east of Sapporo. He is the first South Korean to win four gold medals at one Winter Asian Games.
A bit earlier, Kim Min-seok won South Korea’s fifth speed skating gold from the men’s 1,500 meters.
Speed skating drew to an end with South Korea sweeping six gold medals, five of them on the men’s side. The other men’s gold went to Chinese Gao Tingyu over 500 meters.
Japan collected seven speed skating titles, with Miho Takagi winning the last in the women’s mass start on the day.
Japan kept its dominance in snow events. The Japanese skiers swept top three places at the women’s Alpine skiing giant slalom.
Emi Hasegawa finished in 2:21.58 after two runs, bringing the gold medal to the hosts. Her teammate Asa Ando and Mio Arai placed second and third respectively, but South Korea’s Kang Young-Seo claimed a lucky bronze as the Olympic Council of Asia doesn’t allow a clean sweep of the podium by the same delegation.
In cross-country skiing, Japanese skiers pocketed both golds of the women’s 5km classical and the men’s 10km classical.
Yuki Kobayashi led the women’s event in 14:56.1, while Akira Lenting clinched the men’s title in 25:15.6.
China’s Li Hongxue took a bronze in the women’s event, while Wang Qiang finished 10th in the men’s.
Mikko Olavi Virtanen, head coach of the Chinese cross-country skiing team, said after the events that he is happy with the women’s results. “A surprising medal for Li Hongxue,” he said.
Kazakhstan also added two gold medals on the day as it dominated the biathlon field.
Vishevskaya Galina won the women’s 7.5 km in 20:32.6, while China’s Zhang Yan, who made a perfect shooting, got the silver in 20:56.8. Paikova Alina of Kazakhstan got the bronze in 21:23.2.
Savitskiy Yan claimed the men’s 10km sprint title. His teammate Podkorytov Vassiliy snatched the silver in 27:14.2. The bronze went to Tachizaki Mikito of Japan who timed 27:19.4.
In curling, South Korea beat Chinese Taipei 10-5 to take the bronze in the men’s competition, while in the women’s bronze medal game, Japan whitewashed Kazakhstan 17-0.
Moreover, in ice hockey, the Chinese women’s team lost to South Korea in penalty shootout.
The figure skating competition started on Thursday. China’s Wang Shiyue/Liu Xinyu led the short dance, while South Korea’s Choi Dabin produced a strong short program in the women’s event.