OSAKA, Japan. May 26. JAPANESE swimmers took four of the six events contested on the final day of the East Asian Games in Osaka, to cap a very successful meet.
The hosts won all three women's events today, sweeping the top two spots in two of them.
In the 200m baackstroke, up-and-comer Reiko Nakamura won in a swift 2:10.99, followed exactly two seconds later by her teammate, Aya Terakawa (2:12.99). China's Zhan Shu, who was spectacular as a 13 year-old more than three years ago, then disappeared, finished third in 2:14.02.
The 200 fly was much the same story, with Yuko Nakanishi winning gold in 2:10.26, followed by Asako Kitada two seconds behind (2:12.01). Korea's Kyung-Rang Park won the bronze, though Australia's lara Davenport, swimming unofficially, actually finished third.
Sumika Minamoto pulled a mild upset when she won the 50m free in 25.41, well off the national record of 25.11 she swam last month. In the process, she beat China's Xu Yanwei, 25.53, who won the 100 meters earlier in the meet. Veteran Han Xue was third.
On the men's side, Japan won the 400m medley relay in a national record 3:38.88 – a time that would have placed them fifth at last year's Olympic Games – beating a tough Australian team that finsihed in 3:40.11. China was a distant third. Australia had won both freestyle relays and was looking for a sweep of the relay events.
Atsushi Nishikori (56.05) gave Japan a narrow lead over Australia’s Beau Mannix (56.30) in the opening backstroke leg, before Kosuke Kitajima (1:00.21) went up against Australia’s latest star Jimmy Piper (1:01.12), in the breaststroke. Takashi Yamamoto (52.33) lengthened the lead in the butterfly leg, outswimming Burl Reid, 52.33 to 52.62.
It was all left to Van Der Zant and Japan’s freestyle sprinter Yoshihiro Okumura, with a powerful turn from the Japanese champion sealing the victory for the host nation. Okumura split 50.29 and Van Der Zant 50.07 in a thrilling finale to the six-day meet.
China's Zheng Shibin won a slow 1500 meters, touching in 15:29.39, to outlast Korea's Kyu-Chul Han, at 15:31.09. Japan's Shunichi Fujita was third, just a touch ahead of Australia's Andrew Affleck.
Robbie Van Der Zant emerged as Australia's star of the Games after winning his fourth event. Van Der Zant, one of Australia’s two co-captains, swam a perfect race to win his specialty, the 200m individual medley in 2:01.97, the second fastest time of his career. Japan's
Takahiro Mori was a close second (2:02.25) followed by China’s Xie Xuefeng (2:03.34).
Van Der Zant swam brilliantly, coming from fifth at the end of the butterfly, fourth at the backstroke, third at the end of the breaststroke leg to surge past Japan’s Takhiro Mori in a thrilling final 25 meters to claim his fourth win of the meet.
In an unofficial point score kept by the Australian team, host nation Japan finished on top with 356 points with Australia just edging China for the second spot, 309-308.
The Japanese and Chinese teams will now prepare for the 9th World Championships in Fukuoka in July, buoyed by some world class performances. Particularly notablee is China’s Qi Hui, who set a world record in the 200m breast last month and swam a world-leading 200 IM here.
But the Australians, many of whom finished third and fourth in their individual events at the Telstra Australian Championships behind the World Championship team members, can be pleased with their performances – which included 26 personal best times.
3rd EAST ASIAN GAMES, Osaka
Day SIX : May 26, 2001
1. Zheng Shibin CHN 15:29.39
2. Kyu-Chul Han KOR 15:31.09
3. Shunichi Fujita JPN 15:34.27
4. Andrew Affleck AUS 15:34.34
7. Stephen Penfold AUS 15:49.45
200m individual medley
1. Rob Van Der Zant AUS 2:01.97
1. Takahiro Mori AUS 2:02.25
2. Xie Xufeng CHN 2:03.34
3. Jiro Miki JPN 2:03.71
5. Trent Steed AUS 2:05.10
4x100m medley relay
Atsushi Nishikori 56.05
Kosuke Kitajima 1:00.21
Takashi Yamamoto 52.33
Yoshihiro Okamura 50.29
Beau Mannix 56.30
Jim Piper 1:01.12
Burl Reid 52.62
Rob Van Der Zant 50.07
3. CHINA 3:45.55
1. Sumika Minamoto JPN 25.41
2. Xu Yanwei CHN 25.53
3. Han Xue CHN 25.71
4. Sophie Edington AUS 26.08
5. Melinda Geraghty AUS 23.23
1. Reiko Nakamura JPN 2:10.99
2. Aya Terakawa JPN 2:12.99
3. Zhan Shu CHN 2:14.02
5. Melissa Morgan AUS 2:17.52
6. Chloe Bennett AUS 2:17.90
1. Yuko Nakanishi JPN 2:10.26
2. Asako Kitada JPN 2:12.21
3. Lara Davenport AUS 2:13.52
3. Kyung-Rang Park KOR 2:18.47
4. Felicity Galvez AUS 2:13.67
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