BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA, Oct. 3. CHINA and Japan continued their heated rivalry for Asian aquatic supremacy on Day 4 of the 14th Asian Games here this evening.
China swept to wins in the women's 200 breaststroke and 400 free relay and the men's 100 free, while Japan scored wins in the men's 100 back, 100 fly and women's 400 free.
There were several performances of note tonight, including Japan's Sachiko Yamada's pr-NR 4:07.23 that won her gold in the 400 free, the year's No. 2 global clocking.
No. 1 belongs to double Olympic gold-medalist Yana Klochkova of Ukraine, who won this summer's European Championships 400 title in a pr-NR 4:07.10. Yamada's time knocks Hungary's Eva Risztov, Berlin runner-up in a pr-NR 4:07.24, from the No. 2 world spot as she drops to No. 3.
Yamada's old pr-NR was 4:09.80 from the Sydney Olympic Trials at the Tokyo Olympic Pool. The Asian record is 4:05.00 by China's Chen Yan from the National Games in Shanghai five years ago this November. The world record is still that "unbeatable" (unapproachable?) 4:03.85 by America's Janet Evans from the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
Evans also still has history's No. 2 performance, is the only woman ever under 4:05 and, additionally, holds world records in the 800-1500 frees — some 13-14 years after they were originally swum.
Yamada now ranks 17th on the all-time performers' list and is also Japan's record-holder in the 800-1500 frees.
China's Chen Hua (4:12.24) was silver medalist and newcomer Tang Jingzhi (CHN) won the bronze (4:15.82).
In the 200 breast, China's world record-holder Qi Hui (2:22.99 from last year's World Championship Trials) swam a sizzling 2:24.01 to win the gold with teammate Luo Xuejuan (pr 2:24.67) runner-up.
Qi's swim is No. 2 globally for the year and history's fourth-fastest performance behind only her world record, now-retired South Africa's and University of
Nebraska's Penny Heyns' 2:23.64, and her world-leading 2:23.74 from the Pan-Pac Trials at Anshan in April.
Luo's old pr was her 2:25.29 that won the gold at last year's World Championships.
Interestingly, as we pointed out in our preview, China opted not to bring Pan Pac Trials' runner-up Luo Nan,
who went a pr and then No. 2 world 2:24.91 last April. In any event, China now has the top two women's 200 breaststrokers in the world for Y2K+2.
It will be interesting to see how things play out at Barcelona (World Championships) next summer — with Hungary's defending Olympic and World Championship star (not to mention Arizona State sophomore) Agnes Kovacs primed for a major "comeback" next season. Kovacs lost her European title to Austria's Mirna Jukic at Berlin in August.
China won the final women's race of the night, the 400 free relay, in a Games record 3:40.95 to Japan's 3:44.59. Korea was a stroke behind. The leading time for the year is Germany's world-record setting 3:36 flat from the European Championships. Australia ranks No. 2 off its 3:39.78 that won gold at the Pan Pacs.
* * * * *
On the men's side, no Asian records were set but a couple of Games records fell. Japan's Atushi Nishikori (55.17, 55.06p) and Takashi Yamamoto (52.59) were the gold medalists and Games record-setters in the 100 back and 100 fly, respectively. In a surprise, China swept the 100 free with Chen Zuo outtouching teammate Liu Yu — 200 free winner — in 50.78-50.83.
Nishikori's prelim time is just 1/100 of a second off the Japanese and Asian Record of 55.05 by Daichi Suzuki, which won him the gold at the Seoul Olympics 14 years ago. Suzuki won in a huge upset over then world record-holder David Berkoff of the United States.
Cal junior Alex Lim, a native of Malaysia, took the silver in a pr-NR 55.18 — coming within just one-hundredth of a second of becoming the first non-Chinese or Japanese winner here — and Japan's Tomomi Morita (55.32) the bronze. Nishikori has the year's
fastest Asian time, a 55.06 swum in prelims here.
Lim's old pr-NR was a 55.44 from the Commonwealth Games. He'll he'll be a key component (along with sprinters Anthony Ervin, Duje Draganja and Michael
Cavic) in Cal's quest to win its first NCAA Championship since 1980 next March at Texas.
In the 100 fly, Yamamoto, who was upset by China's Wu Peng in the 200 opening night, dropped his seasonal best from the 52.64 he swam at the Pan-Pacs. His pr-NR-Asian Record is 52.55 from the semis of the World Championships in Fukuoka. In the finals he touched in 52.59.
His gold medal-winning swim ranks him eighth globally for '02.
Runner-up was Japan's Kohe Kawamoto (pr 53.22) which matched his prelim time. China's Jin Hao (pr 53.56) was third. The Chinese record is 53.20 by
Jiang Chengji from the Atlanta Olympics.
14th Asian Games
Busan, South Korea
September 29 – October 14, 2002
DAY FOUR: October 3, 2002
Women's 200m Breaststroke
F 1 4 QI Hui People's Rep. of China
2:24.01 Asian Games Record
2 2 LUO Xuejuan People's Rep. of China
3 6 KAWANABE Fumiko Japan
4 5 ISODA Junko Japan
5 1 JUNG Seul Ki Korea
6 3 CHO A Ra Korea
7 7 SIOW Yi Ting Malaysia
8 8 GUERRERO Jenny Philippines
Women's 400m Freestyle
F 1 4 YAMADA Sachiko Japan
4:07.23 Asian Games Record
2 3 CHEN Hua People's Rep. of China
3 6 TANG Jingzhi People's Rep. of China
4 5 HA Eun Ju Korea
5 2 TACHAKITTIRANAN Pilin Thailand
6 7 OCHI Madoka Japan
7 1 KIM Ye Sul Korea
8 8 CHOOMPOL Chorkaew Thailand
Women's 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay
F 1 4 People's Rep. of China
ZHU Ying Wen
2 5 Japan
3 3 Korea
RYU Yoon Ji
KIM Hyun Joo
SHIM Min Ji
SUN So Eun
4 6 Hong Kong, China
KONG Yan Kay Flora
TANG Hing Ting
NG Chi Kwon Jennifer
TSAI Hiu Wai Sherry
5 7 Singapore
TEO Wei Min Nicolette
YEO Wei Ling Joscelin
LIM Kim Tor Jacqueline
6 2 Thailand
7 1 Pakistan
ABDUL WAHID Sana
Men's 100m Freestyle
A 1 6 CHEN Zuo People's Rep. of China
2 1 LIU Yu People's Rep. of China
3 4 HOSOKAWA Daisuke Japan
4 5 KO Yun Ho Korea
5 8 Indonesia
6 7 AKEBE Hiroaki Japan
7 2 WU Nien Pin Chinese Taipei
8 3 ONG Hou Meng Malaysia
B 1 3 TAN Lee Yu Gary Singapore
2 1 KVASSOV Andrey Kazakhstan
3 6 SITNIKOV Igor Kazakhstan
4 5 WANG Shao An Chinese Taipei
5 7 CHAY Jung Jun Mark Singapore
6 4 KORSHUNOV Maksim Tajikistan
7 8 DOO Kenneth Kinlun Hong Kong, China
2 KIM Min Suk Korea
Men's 100m Butterfly
A 1 5 YAMAMOTO Takashi Japan
2 4 KAWAMOTO Kohei Japan
3 6 JIN Hao People's Rep. of China
4 3 NACHAEV Ravil Uzbekistan
5 7 YOO Jeong Nam Korea
6 2 TANG Wen Jun People's Rep. of China
7 1 TSENG Cheng Hua Chinese Taipei
8 8 LIM Yu-lung Lubrey Malaysia
B 1 4 KWOK Kin Ming Mark Hong Kong, China
2 6 WONG Wing Cheung Victor Macau
3 5 SZETO Shui Ki Hong Kong, China
4 3 KIM Young Nam Korea
5 7 NG Cheng Xun Singapore
6 2 YAMANI Mohammed Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
7 1 TITORENKO Vyacheslav Kazakhstan
8 8 AL-YOUSEF MOD Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Men's 100m Backstroke
F 1 4 NISHIKORI Atsushi Japan
2 3 LIM Keng Liat Malaysia
3 5 MORITA Tomomi Japan
4 6 OUYANG Kun Peng People's Rep. of China
5 7 SUNG Min Korea
6 2 YU Rui People's Rep. of China
7 8 PHUANGTHONG Dulyarit Thailand
8 1 KOH Mun Yew Gerald Singapore