Shuttlers keep gold hopes alive
The Jakarta Post
Indonesia's badminton team moved closer to capturing the country's first gold at the 2014 Asian Games after women's doubles pair Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari chalked up their first career win over their Chinese nemeses Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing at Gyeyang Gymnasium in Incheon, South Korea, on Friday.
The chase for gold also remained on hold in men's doubles through Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan and mixed doubles through Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, and Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto.
In singles events, Indonesia is left without representation after Tommy Sugiarto, Ihsan Maulana Mustofa and women's shuttler Bellaetrix Manuputty lost to their opponents.
While fellow Indonesian pairs completed their matches in two games, Greysia and Nitya had to play three games in a match that lasted 70 minutes.
When a return from Zhao landed outside the back line, the Indonesians sailed through with a 21-17, 19-21, 21-17 on the score sheet to gain their first win in three meetings.
They will face Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsumoto of Japan in the semifinals on Saturday. Hendra and Aksan will take on Kim Sarang and Kim Gijun of South Korea. The mixed doubles pairs will also have to tackle Korean opponents for a place in the semifinals.
Indonesia's women's Sepak takraw team is also eying gold after the men's team only managed to bring home bronze. In addition to Indonesia's beach volleyball team, they will play in semifinal events on Saturday.
The women's sepak takraw team will face Myanmar while Ade Candra Rachmawan and Koko Prasetyo Darkuncoro will take on a Chinese pair at the Songdo Global University seaside arena.
At the bowling lane, Adelina Sharon Santoso and Putty Armein finished in fifth place in the women's doubles event.
Tennis players, archers and soccer players will now head home empty handed. Christopher Rungkat fell in the singles and doubles, pairing with Elbert Sie, while the soccer team was defeated 4-1 by North Korea.
Indonesian swimming team qualified for the finals but ended up in fifth place in the men's 4x100m medley relay behind China, Japan, Korea and Uzbekistan as the pool completed its six-day races.
Host Korea finally won gold in the men's 1500-meter freestyle, but China still stood out with three gold spikes for a total of 21 in the pool. The other gold medals on the final day went to Japan and Kazakhstan.
While China is safe in its perch from Korean and Japanese threats, the fact that the top three standings are filled exclusively by three East Asian countries with their medal counts way ahead of the rest of the participating teams has raised concerns from the Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee (IAGOC).
'The IAGOC has been running the 'Vision 2014 program', which has been initiated to promote the balanced development of sports across Asia and share the joy of standing in the victory ceremony, since Incheon has been chosen as the host city of the 2014 Asian Games,' IAGOC president Kim Young-soo said during an interview with The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Competition on Saturday will offer 24 gold medals in archery, badminton, cycling, squash, wrestling and athletics.
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