Iran, Indonesia split speed climbing golds at Hangzhou Asiad

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 4, 2023
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HANGZHOU, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Iran's Reza Alipour Shenazandifard upset several favorites to defend the men's speed climbing title, while Desak Made Rita Kusuma Dewi grabbed the women's speed gold for Indonesia on the opening day of sport climbing events at the Hangzhou Asiad.

Shenazandifard defeated China's Zhong Qixin five years ago in Jakarta, claiming the first men's speed climbing gold in the history of the Asian Games. The 29-year-old Iranian entered this edition of the Games as an underdog, as world record holder Veddriq Leonardo, world championships runner-up Long Jinbao of China, and his fellow Wu Peng, winner at the World Cup in Wujiang, China, seemed to be the among the favorites to snatch the gold.

But Shenazandifard, who has barely made a podium finish on the international stage since 2018, showed stability with zero errors throughout the competition on Tuesday.

From the qualification to the big final, the Iranian clocked 5.18s, 5.28s, 5.16s, 5.16s and 5.30s. He stunned Leonardo who slipped on the wall in the semifinal, and took advantage of Long's fault in the big final to seal the gold.

"For five years I had been training hard everyday. I lost, lost, lost, but still trained from morning to night. I sometimes cried alone at night, but I never give up," said an emotional Shenazandifard.

The veteran also expressed his respect for Zhong, the coach of Chinese team.

"Brother Qixin, he is a legend to me, he is a brother," said the defending champion.

Leonardo settled for a bronze after edging out Wu with 4.95 seconds.

In the women's final, newly-crowned world champion Dewi met Deng Lijuan of China, the Asian record holder. The Indonesian won in a record-breaking 6.36 seconds ahead of Deng, whose 6.43 seconds also surpassed her previous record of 6.47.

"I want to thank my coach for helping me win the medal," said the 22-year-old Dewi. "I think the Chinese girls are also outstanding. We have competed with them many times, sometimes they won, and sometimes we won. Today I did it better," she added.

Dewi's compatriot Rajiah Sallsabillah bagged the bronze after outrunning Niu Di of China in 6.87 seconds. Enditem

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