GUANGZHOU, China // No prizes for guessing who won the first gold medal of the Guangzhou Asian Games: the script was well choreographed for Yuan Xiaochao and China. And that was just Act 1.
Wushu, the Chinese martial arts, provided the first of yesterday's 28 gold medals and the two-time world champion Yuan obliged by winning the changquan discipline in confident style on the first day of competition.
The Chinese won 18 of the next 27 finals, including all five in dance sport's Asian Games debut, five of six in shooting, four of six in the pool, two each at both weightlifting and wushu and the men's team gymnastics event.
The pattern for the opening day was set early with the 22-year-old Yuan, an avid Bruce Lee and Jet Li fan who harbours ambitions of working in a kung-fu movie. But just not for the time being.
"I feel very lucky to be able to compete for China's first gold medal … very happy to get that first gold medal," he said. "The win has a significant meaning for me. It is also a good way to make the world know China and Chinese wushu."
China topped the medal count at the last Asian Games in Doha with 166 gold medals, well clear of second-place South Korea's 58. The host nation's only medal target in Guangzhou, where 476 gold medals are at stake, is to surpass the 2006 totals.
Japan, third in the medal count at Doha, picked up gold and silver in the women's triathlon - the first gold medal contested outdoors at Guangzhou - with Mariko Adachi leading teammate Akane Tsuchihashi across the finish line.
"Now I feel very proud to get Japan's first gold medal," Adachi said.
Japan was expected to dominate judo, but South Koreans won three golds on the mats on the first of four days of competition.
South Korea had earlier collected its first gold of the games at shooting, winning the 50-metre pistol men's team event with 1,679 points.
Also at the range, the Chinese shooter Yi Siling became the first multiple gold medallist of the games by winning the women's 10m air rifle and the 10m air rifle team title.
In the football competition, both Koreas, China and Japan all had 3-0 wins on yesterday and advanced to the second round, where the UAE take on Kuwait on Tuesday.