6th gold gives Ikee a record 8th medal at Asian Games
By JOHN PYE
Aug. 24, 2018
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The haul of medals in a record collection at the Asian Games for Rikako Ikee will increase the weight of expectation on her at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 18-year-old Japanese swimmer capped a remarkable week in the Jakarta pool by winning the 50-meter freestyle Friday night to claim her sixth gold. It was also her eighth medal overall at the meet, equaling the total for a single Asian Games set in 1982 by North Korean shooter So Gin Man.
With six gold and two silvers, she's the most successful female athlete at one edition of the Games.
"Of all my races I was the most nervous before this one," Ikee said. "I really hate losing. I think it was just my willpower that helped me win.
"I was really hurting in the last few meters but I just concentrated on the touch and luckily I got there first, but I used up all my energy."
Ikee held off China's Liu Xiang and Wu Qingfeng to clock 24.53 seconds and follow up her wins in the 100 freestyle, the 50 and 100 butterfly and two relays. She also competed at the Pan Pacifics in Tokyo against swimmers from the United States and Australia, winning a gold there in the 100 fly before flying to Jakarta.
It has been a big but rewarding program for Ikee, who is aiming to be one of the stars of the pool at the Tokyo Olympics.
Chinese backstroker Xu Jiayu finished the Games with five golds, while three-time Olympic champion Sun Yang completed his dominance in the freestyle by winning the 1500. He finished up with four golds — the others coming in the 200, 400 and 800 — and two relay silvers.
Japan and China ended with 19 golds apiece in swimming, giving the Japanese the edge in the duel in the pool with 52 medals overall to 50 for the Chinese. The only other individuals to top the podium were Joseph Schooling, who won two butterfly golds for Singapore, and Kim Seo-yeong of South Korea, who captured the women's 200 individual medley.
"The competition between China and Japan is not over. It will last till the 2020 Olympics," Sun said. "We must learn the lessons and avoid the mistakes from these Games."
In what would have been unthinkable in India before the event, there were no kabaddi golds for the spiritual home of the sport.
A day after Iran stunned the seven-time champion Indian men in the semifinals, the Iranians won the women's title with a thrilling 27-24 victory over India. The Iranian men followed up by beating South Korea in the final.
India has long dominated a sport that blends tag and tackle with wrestling moves.
The country's woes continued when former No. 1-ranked Kidambi Srikanth was upset 23-21, 21-19 in the second round of the men's singles in the badminton by Vincent Wong of Hong Kong.
Until Friday, no cyclist had won both the road race and the individual time trial at the same Asian Games. Now two have done it.
South Korea's Na Ah-reum won the women's time trial to complete the double and Kazakhstan's Alexey Lutsenko made it back-to-back golds in the men's time trial.
The first Asian Games gold ever awarded in ju-jitsu, and Cambodia's first medal of this year's competition, went to Jessa Khan in the women's 49-kilogram class.
Ju-jitsu also delivered Kyrgyzstan's first gold, in the men's 69-kilogram, while Iraq picked up its first gold in Jakarta in weightlifting.
Kim Hyo Sim won North Korea's fifth gold in weightlifting with victory in the women's 63-kilogram division, beating teammate and Olympic silver medalist Choe Hyo Sim.
After 190 finals across six days, China led the standings with 66 golds and 139 medals overall, followed by Japan (29 and 102) and South Korea (23 and 77).
In the first doping case of the Games, the Olympic Council of Asia said Turkmenistan wrestler Rustem Nazarov tested positive for a banned diuretic.
John Pye is at https://twitter.com/byJohnPye