Games-Butterfly queen Zhang, Faker strike gold in Hangzhou

By Martin Quin Pollard and Ian Ransom

HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) -Chinese swimmer Zhang Yufei won the 50m butterfly on Friday to claim her sixth gold medal of the Hangzhou Asian Games, the most by a female athlete at a single edition of the continent’s sporting extravaganza.

Zhang, 25, won the butterfly in a Games record time of 25.10 seconds on the final day’s swimming action in Hangzhou, ensuring that each of her six golds included a Games record.

“I am quite happy about the results,” said Zhang. “From the National Games to the Asian Games, even my coach said he has never seen me this disciplined before.”

But Zhang missed out on a seventh gold in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay after her team mates were disqualified in the morning’s heat after a false start. Had she also won that she would have equalled the men’s record of seven golds from a single edition of the Games held by North Korean shooter So Gil-san from the Games in New Delhi in 1982.

Zhang’s team mate Qin Haiyang, 24, who won the men’s 50m breaststroke on Friday, finished his Games with an impressive five golds, five Games records and two Asian records.

Both are likely to shine at next year’s Paris Olympics.


At the Esports venue superstar gamer ‘Faker’ and his Korean team mates celebrated after overcoming Taiwan 2-0 in front of an excited crowd to take gold in the multiplayer battle game “League of Legends” category.

As was the case in the semi-final, ‘Faker’ whose real name is Lee Sang-hyeok, was only a reserve for the final due to illness, according to Games organisers, and did not come on.

But since he played in a previous round he still joined his team mates on the podium. As Asian champions they will all also now officially qualify for exemption from Korea’s military service for young men.

“I was sad not to be playing in the gold medal match,” Faker said. “However, from a team point of view, everyone did a good job, so I think winning the championship is the best however it is done.”

On the first day of athletics, Tokyo Olympic champion shot putter Gong Lijiao delighted home fans with her third straight Games title thanks to a throw of 19.58m, with her team mate Song Jiayuan collecting silver.

The hosts won golds across the board again on Friday including in track cycling, artistic gymnastics and tennis where 2023 U.S. Open quarter finalist Zheng Qinwen, beat her compatriot Zhu Lin 6-2 6-4 to win the women’s singles title.

“The feeling was incredible,” she said. “I’m really happy about that. That was not an easy match.

“As you can see, there’s a lot of emotion on the court for both of us.”

Earlier on day six India’s shooters enjoyed another strong day with their men’s 50m rifle team breaking the world record as they won gold.

Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Swapnil Suresh Kusale and Akhil Sheoran secured gold with a total of 1,769 points, six points more than China and eight more than the previous record set by the United States last November.

Kusale, 28, said it was a “great experience” with a “great team”.

“We are like brothers,” Kusale said. “We help each other and stick together.”


As expected Thailand dominated in sepak takraw winning both the men’s and women’s Team Regu. Popular in southeast Asia, sepak takraw is like volleyball only players use their feet, knees, chest, shoulders and heads instead of their hands, often involving acrobatic, flying kicks.

“I love Lionel Messi,” said Thailand’s men’s team player, Pattarapong Yupadee, 39. “And I hope that this sport (sepak takraw) will spread throughout the world and that every continent can play this sport, because I think it’s a very charming sport.”

Afghan boxer Mohammad Khaibar Nooristani has been provisionally suspended at the Asian Games after failing an anti-doping test, the International Testing Agency (ITA) said.

He is the first athlete at the Games to be announced as having failed a drugs test.

The 37-year-old, who had been set to compete in the men’s 63.5-71kg category, has been informed of the case. He can request the analysis of the B-sample.

(Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard and Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford, Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis)