By Martin Quin Pollard and Dylan Martinez
HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) -China’s teenage skateboarders and Japan’s track cyclists bagged a bunch of golds and Nepal’s cricketers smashed records on day four of the COVID-19 delayed Asian Games in Hangzhou on Wednesday.
At the skate park, 13-year-old Cui Chenxi became China’s youngest Asian Games gold medallist when she won the women’s street event.
With an eye-catching performance featuring several ‘Ollies’ and a huge move off a high rail, Cui took gold ahead of compatriot Zeng Wenhui, 18, with Japanese 16-year-old Miyu Ito taking bronze.
“I did quite well today,” Cui said modestly.
Cui, who hails from China’s eastern Shandong province, only took up skateboarding in 2020 when China’s COVID restrictions meant she could not practice rollerblading, which she began as a three-year-old.
The street competition involves skaters performing daring tricks on a course that has features that resemble an urban environment including rails and gaps.
In bright, warm and humid conditions, which felt even hotter because of the skate park’s innate lack of greenery, scores of dragonflies shared air time with the competitors as they performed their tricks.
The skaters did two ‘runs’ followed by five individual ‘tricks’. Each athlete’s highest scoring run and two highest scoring tricks were then added together to reach a final score.
Margielyn Didal, who won gold for the Philippines at the 2018 Asian Games, is still only 24 yet she seemed like a veteran with all her competitors in the final 18 or under.
“I don’t feel old because I’m also a bit childish, I just want to mess around,” she said, after an injury in the final meant she finished last of the eight skaters.
In the men’s final, another 13-year-old and hot favourite for the title, Ginu Onodera, was in the lead after the “run” section. But the Japanese failed to land a single of his “tricks” and so dropped down to seventh.
China’s Zhang Jie, 16, won the gold, making that three golds out of a possible four for the host nation.
“I felt very excited and happy to win the gold medal,” Zhang said. “I never saw it coming.”
On the opening day of men’s cricket, Nepal broke a host of records on their way to beating Mongolia by 273 runs. That included their 314-3 total which was the first time any international team has gone past 300 in this format.
In the velodrome Japan were dominant winning all three golds on offer on day four, in the women’s keirin and the men’s and women’s team pursuit with both grabbing Games records.
“We were actually already celebrating during the last three or four laps,” said Naoki Kojima, from the men’s pursuit team.
But China’s medal tally continued to far exceed all of the others. On Wednesday the hosts won golds in the women’s all round gymnastics through Zuo Tong and in women’s beach volleyball, sailing, taekwondo, wushu and shooting.
The 60-year-old Abdullah Alrashidi of Kuwait impressed on the shooting range with a world record-equalling performance in the men’s skeet to get his country’s first gold of the Games.
In the event where the shotgun wielding athletes attempt to shoot and break clay targets fired into the air at high speeds and varying angles, Alrashidi held off a strong challenge from India’s Anant Jeet Singh Naruka, 25, to take the win, with Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiya, 52, finishing third.
“Today I only missed one target from 110 targets,” the veteran of seven Olympics, which have included two bronze medals, said. “This happens when you play every day, you exercise, go swimming, and eat well.
“You keep your body strong. I don’t look at the telephone or Twitter, because this is not good for your eyes. I look after my body and my health, and I go to sleep early and wake up early.
“Inshallah, we have time to shoot the next two Olympics.”
(Writing and reporting by Martin Quin Pollard; additional reporting by Ian Ransom and Dylan Martinez; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Christian Radnedge)