GUANGZHOU, China, (Reuters) - China smashed their 20-year gold medal record at the Asian Games early on Friday when women’s karate fighter Feng Lanlan captured the delegation’s 184th title.
The 26-year-old Asian champion Feng felled Japan’s Emiko Homma 3-0 with a single scoring blow to clinch gold in the 68kg kumite class.
Kayaker Zhou Yu’s triumph in the women’s singles 500m discipline had earlier brought China’s total to 183, equalling their haul at the 1990 Beijing Games.
China underlined their dominance in the event by picking up two more golds, including the men’s canoe single 200m and the women’s kayak double. The hosts had already breezed to their goal of exceeding their 165-gold haul at the 2006 Doha Games with days to spare.
Although losing some of their most decorated athletes to injury and retirement, China brought 34 Olympic champions to the southern city of Guangzhou to usher in a new generation ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.
China will hope to further boost their record on Friday when Olympic boxing champion Zou Shiming defends his 49kg title against Birzhan Zhakypov, while the hosts will fancy their chances against South Korea in the men’s basketball final.
One competition where the long arm of China’s Soviet-style sports system has yet to produce success will wrap up on Friday, when Afghanistan take on Bangladesh in the final of the men’s Twenty20 cricket competition.
Afghanistan’s band of refugee camp-raised players upset a second-string side from world cricket power Pakistan in the semi-final on Thursday and will hope a fairytale ending can bring joy to their war-torn country.