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China Wraps up Asiad Gymnastics
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Chinese athletes made an overwhelming sweep on the last day of the Asian Games gymnastic competition as they claimed all the titles, with six golds from five events.

Chinese senior gymnast Li Xiaopeng opened the gold account for China today as he put on a brilliant performance to claim the men's vault title.

In a final without much suspense, Olympic team winner Li came best as he scored 9.737, and his compatriot Yang Wei, almost kneeling down on his knees in his second attempt, was the runner-up on 9.675.

The newly crowned team champion who was the second to compete, showed his well-preserved power after three days of rest. His beautifully finished flips and swirls in air won him the highest points.

Whereas the 17-year-old Kim Seung-il, who unexpectedly triumphed in the floor exercise a day earlier, failed to bring one more sweet surprise to the South Koreans as he scored 9.250 in his routine with a starting value of 9.700.

The parallel bars also saw Chinese dominance as Li and Huang Xu, reigning Asian champion on rings, tied at 9.800 to earn China two golds at a time.

"I am very happy with the result. My strongest rival is Xiaopeng and we came out together as champions," said Huang after the contest.

"I have expected the result, as I have the power to snatch the gold on the parallel bars," he added.

The fight for men's parallel bars was fierce and dramatic when three champions respectively from China, Japan and South Korea were seen standing on the highest position of the podium.

Tomita Hiroyuki from Japan, Yang Tae-seok of South Korea and Chinese Teng Haibin weirdly finished the score 9.800.

Double Asiad title winner Teng got to know his shared victory just before the awarding ceremony as the score board had previously indicated his third position on 9.775.

"I got to know my score was raised to 9.800 not long before the awarding ceremony," said the shy 17-year-old.

Chinese women gymnasts were just as brilliant as their men counterparts as they chalked up both titles on offer.

Beijing teenager Kang Xin, 16, scored 9.300 with a starting value of 9.700 to pocket her second gold, China's 12th in the five-day gymnastics tournament starting on Tuesday.

Exquisite Kang, an all-arounder, attracted cheering from the audience after stringing masterful routines on the beam, her strongest apparatus and the only individual one she participated.

Zhang Nan was the last to wrap up the Chinese gold hunt for a total of 13 today when she split the floor exercise title with veteran Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan.

This is the fourth gold for the baby-faced teenager, who became the most versatile gymnast in the Asiad.

(People's Daily October 6, 2002)

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