Japan Blazes to Asian Record Time in Men’s 400 Free Relay at Asian Games

By Jason Marsteller

DOHA, Qatar, December 5. JAPAN's team of Takamitsu Kojima, Hiroaki Yamamoto, Makoto Ito and Daisuke Hosokawa hit the wall in an Asian record time of 3:18.95 in the men's 400 free relay at the 15th Asian Games held in Doha, Qatar on Dec. 5. That effort is the second Asian standard of the Games, with Korea's Tae Hwan Park clocking the first record in the 200 freestyle finals on Dec. 3.

Men's 50 Butterfly
China went 1-3 in the sprint fly as Zhou Jiawei captured gold in 23.94, while Wang Dong picked up third in 24.23. Meanwhile, Japan's Ryo Takayasu snared silver in 24.11.

Women's 100 Breaststroke
Japan picked up one of the few non-Chinese women's gold medals of the meet when Asami Kitagawa (1:09.13) came from behind to pick off China's Ji Liping (1:09.47) in the 100 breast. Korea's Su Yeon Back completed the top-three finishers with a bronze-winning 1:10.22.

Men's 400 Freestyle
Korea's Tae Hwan Park, Swimming World Magazine's Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year, surely has not rested on his laurels as he grasped his second Asiad gold medal of the meet. After clocking an Asian record for gold in the 200 free earlier in the meet, Park touched in 3:48.44 to win the 400 free.

China's Zhang Lin (3:49.03) provided Park's best competition as the two traded the lead throughout the front half of the race. In the back half, Park slowly built his lead until he wound up winning by nearly a half-second.

Meanwhile, Japan's Takeshi Matsuda claimed bronze in 3:49.38.

Women's 50 Freestyle
China got back on track with a 1-2 finish in the sprint freestyle event. Xu Yanwei clocked a 25.23 to win the mad dash for gold, while Pan Jiaying touched in 25.84 for silver. Japan's Kaori Yamada took bronze in 26.01, narrowly knocking out fourth-place finisher Yoon Ji Ryu of Korea (26.06).

Men's 100 Backstroke
Japan registered a 1-3 effort in the men's 100 back as Junichi Miyashita hit the wall in 54.67 to win the Asiad gold. Meanwhile, Masafumi Yamaguchi pocketed bronze in 55.78, while China's Ouyang Kunpeng split the difference with a silver-winning 54.92.

Women's 800 Freestyle Relay
The Chinese contingent of Tang Yi, Yang Yu, Tang Jingzhi and Pang Jiaying easily out-paced the rest of its competition in the 800 free relay to win gold in 8:01.89. Japan's foursome of Maki Mita, Norie Urabe, Haruka Ueda and Yurie Yano finished second in 8:06.76, while Korea's quartet of Keo Ra Lee, Na Ri Park, Yoo Jin Jung and Ji Eun Lee nabbed bronze in 8:14.68.

Yi Tang's leadoff led of 2:00.l8 for China would have given her silver in the individual race. Meanwhile, Yang's put together the fastest leg of the event with a 1:59.24 as the second swimmer for China.

Men's 400 Freestyle Relay
Japan's squad of Takamitsu Kojima, Hiroaki Yamamoto, Makoto Ito and Daisuke Hosokawa posted the second Asian record of the Games behind Korean Tae Hwan Park's 200 free Asian record earlier in the meet. The Japanese team stopped the clock in 3:18.95, which chopped a second off the previous Asian record of 3:19.20 set by the Japanese on July 24, 2005.

Meanwhile, China's group of Huang Shaohua, Chen Zuo, Cai Li and Qu Jingyu took silver in 3:19.26, while Korea's team of Kyu Chul Han, Min Sung, Nam Gyun Lim and Park placed third in 3:22.16.

Kojima recorded the fastest leadoff time with a 50.43, while Hosokawa brought it home with the second-quickest split of 48.95. China's Chen turned in the best split with a 48.73 as the second leg of his team's second-place performance.