India claimed the first world record of the Hangzhou Asian Games on Monday as hosts China snapped up more gold medals and a nine-year-old skateboarder melted hearts. The Indian trio of Divyansh Panwar, Rudrankksh Patil and Aishwary Tomar blew away the field with a new world best 1,893.7 points to win the men’s 10m air rifle team event on day two of the multi-sports extravaganza.
They beat the previous mark of 1,893.3 set by China last month and in doing so won India’s first gold of a Games where the hosts have swept 32 of the 51 titles decided so far. “In the 10m event they are both perfect athletes,” Tomar said of his teammates. “Playing with them is huge, it’s really good.”
Another shooting world record fell to Chinese teenager Sheng Lihao in the men’s 10m air rifle with his 253.3 points surpassing teammate Yu Haonan’s 252.8 from Rio four years ago. “I had good luck in the final. I did quite well today, I was basically smooth,” said the 18-year-old, a Tokyo Olympic silver medallist.
In other action, Mazel Paris Alegado – aged just nine – said it was “so fun” competing in skateboarding. Thought to be the youngest athlete in Hangzhou and representing the Philippines, she qualified for the “women’s” park final and came seventh out of eight. The competition was won by comparative veteran Hinano Kusaki from Japan, aged 15. China’s Chen Ye, also just 15, won the men’s park in skateboarding.
At the Fuyang Water Sports Centre, Zhang Liang became the most successful Asian Games rower of all time. China’s Zhang won the men’s single sculls to add to his men’s double sculls gold from Sunday and now has five Asian Games titles from four editions. “I cannot say I am a leader. I do what I should do as a rower, to pursue my goals and dreams, to do well,” he said.
Elsewhere on day two of competition, three North Korean marksmen refused to join their South Korean rivals in a group photo of medal winners after narrowly missing out on gold in a men’s team shooting competition. North Korea, competing in their first major international sporting event since the pandemic, added silvers in men’s team shooting and women’s judo to their lone bronze.
China picked up golds in artistic gymnastics, swimming, skateboarding, taekwondo, mountain biking, fencing, wushu, shooting and rowing. But Uzbekistan stole some of their thunder by pipping the hosts to gold in the men’s four and women’s single skulls.
The single skulls winner, Anna Prakaten, came into the event with some pedigree having won silver at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 whilst representing the Russian Olympic Committee.
Another who upset China’s party was Thailand’s Panipak Wongpattanakit who leapt for joy after beating local fighter Guo Qing 2-1 in a tight and dramatic contest in the women’s -49kg taekwondo final. It was Thailand’s first gold of the Games and triggered a roar of delight from several Thai journalists watching in the Games’ media centre.
“My dad and my whole family are very happy,” said Olympic and former world champion Wongpattanakit following a fight that included a delay in the final round whilst officials debated a points decision and a late comeback to snatch the victory.
Away from the action, between 150 and 200 athletes have been tested for doping, the Olympic Council of Asia said, with no positive results.
India’s 10m air rifle team gold medallists Divyansh Singh Panwar (left), Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (centre) and Rudrankksh Patil pose on the podium at the Fuyang Yinhu Sports Centre in Hangzhou, China. (AFP)