x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Zhang cannot catch Park in the freestyle

Park Tae-Hwan, the South Korean swimmer, crushed China's Zhang Lin in an Olympic rematch as Li Na led the hosts to the women's team tennis gold.

GUANGZHOU, CHINA // Park Tae-Hwan, the South Korean swimmer, crushed China's Zhang Lin in an Olympic rematch yesterday as Li Na led the hosts to the women's team tennis gold and Taiwan clinched the men's title.

While Park controlled his 400 metre freestyle race, it was China who again dominated the medals with their devastating form bringing them 70 golds so far to South Korea's 21 and Japan's 15.

A day after fading Japanese Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima flopped in the pool, Park emphatically won his second gold in Guangzhou having already collected the 200m freestyle title.

The 21-year-old led from the start and was under world-record pace for much of the race only to ease up and clock 3mins 41.53secs - his best time in two years - ahead of China's Sun Yang.

It left Zhang, whom he beat in the Beijing Olympics final, trailing in a disappointing third.

"It feels good to have led the whole race and finish it with a good time," said Park, who won three gold, a silver and three bronze medals at the last Asian Games in Doha four years ago.

He added that his fast time was a bonus.

"That is the result of all my training this year."

Zhang, the reigning 800m freestyle world champion, admitted he was well beaten again.

"Everyone knows that I have work to do," he said. "I was in really bad form."

In another pool highlight, Japan's Ryosuke Irie won his second gold of the Games, adding the 100m backstroke crown to the 200m he won on Monday.

It was a good day for the UAE's Mohammed Abdulla al Ghaferi, who was second in his qualifying heat for the men's 100m backstroke, and eighth in his qualifying heat for the 50m butterfly.

On the tennis courts, Li, the world No 10, led China to women's team success with a crushing victory over Taiwan, the defending champions.

Li over-powered Chan Yung-jan 6-1, 6-1 while Peng Shuai saw off Chang Kai-chen 6-3, 7-5 in their clash.

"At the last Asian Games in Doha in 2006 we lost in the quarter-finals to Uzbekistan, so this time we were fully prepared," said Li, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open and quarter-finalist at Wimbledon this year.

Also in action for the UAE yesterday:

In table tennis, Rashed Mohammed Hassan and Rashid Awon Omar won their round-of-16 men's doubles match by walkover.

In shooting, Sumaya Saleh el Mashaiei was 23rd in the qualifying round of the women's 25m pistol competition. Shaikha Saeed al Rumaithi was 35th and Shamma Ahmed al Muhairi was 41st.

In track cycling, Badr Ali al Balooshi was fifth in his second-round heat for the men's keirin, after taking fourth in his qualifying heat. In qualifying for the men's points race, Mohamed Hasan al Murawwi was 12th in one heat and Yousif Mohamed al Hammadi was 14th in the other.

In sailing, Hamood Salem al Zaidi took fifth and seventh in two men's dinghy optimist races. Adil Khalid was ninth in an open laser radical race.

In chess, AR Saleh Salem won and Abdullah Hassan drew in the eighth round of men's singles. Nora Mohammed Saleh and Kholoud Essa al Zarouni both lost in the eighth round of women's singles.