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Day 8: China Reaches 100-gold Mark
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China topped the 100 mark in the gold medal tally at the Asian Games on Saturday but their ambitious men's soccer team lost a bloody penalty shootout to Iran in the quarter-finals.

China won a total of eight gold medals, taking their gold medal count to 103. The 100th gold came from the women's synchronized swimming team, who upset three-time champion Japan.

But with so many gold medals, Chinese top officials, felt unsatisfied because few golds are of world class.

"We have many gold medals, but most were won in competition far below the world top level," deputy chef de mission Duan Shijie said.

Head coach Ratomir Dujkovic, who had vowed to take the Chinese under-23 team to win at least a silver, witnessed his side eliminated by Iran 8-7 in a humiliating and heartbreaking way.

The two sides were 1-1 at the end of the 90 minutes and still deadlocked at 2-2 after the extra time.

Iran opened the scoring in the 39th minute. Borhani Arash got the ball from a long through cross, broke through Chinese defense and scored after bypassing Chinese goalkeeper Wang Dalei.

Borhani stopped the ball on the line with his back to goal and beckoned his teammates over before tapping the ball in. Referee Alghafary Naser from Jordan turned a blind eye to this ugly scene.

In the other quarter-final matches, Iraq beat Uzbekistan 2-1, host Qatar defeated Thailand and South Korea eliminated DPR Korea 3-0. Iraq will face South Korea and Qatar to take on Iran in the semifinals.

Zhou Chunxiu broke China's 16-year Asian Games marathon gold drought to win the women's 42.195km race. Shot-putter Li Ling upset veteran teammate Li Meiju to give China the day's second athletics gold medal.

Saudi Arabia's Hassan Yahya Habeeb became Asia's fastest men after winning the 100m in a modest time of 13.32 seconds. Uzbekistan's Guzel Khubbieva was crowned as the continent's fastest woman by winning the women's 100m in 11.27.

Lin Dan, nicknamed "Super Dan", who beat defending champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia twice in the team event singles, lost their third clash in the men's badminton singles final.

Gao Ling and Huangsui defeated Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen in an all-Chinese women's doubles final, taking only China's second individual badminton title. No Chinese shuttlers entered the finals in the men's doubles and women's singles, which were won by Malaysia and Hong Kong of China respectively.

Hong Kong's Yip Pui Yin's giant-killing run was put to an end as the 19-year-old succumbed to teammate Wang Chen 21-14, 22-20 in the women's singles final.

Olympic champion Luo Wei beat Jordan's Alaa Kutkut to claim the women's 72kg taekwondo top honor. Tan Xue defeated her teammate Zhao Yuanyuan to win the women's individual sabre gold medal.

Elsewhere, China took away the day's both cycling gold medals, with Feng Yong winning the men's 1km time trial and Guo Shuang claiming the women's 500m time trial.

Doping has reared its ugly head as Myanmar's Than Kyi Kyi, a former world champion who finished fourth on Dec. 2 in the 48kg class weightlifting, was tested positive to the banned diuretic furosemide in the first doping case in the Doha Games.

"After due consideration and after listening to her submission, the OCA disciplinary commission recommended that this athlete has committed an anti-doping violation and should be disqualified from the competition," said Husain Al Musallam, Olympic Council of Asia director general.

With six days to go, China tops the medal standings with 103 golds, 59 silvers and 30 bronzes, while Japan remains second in a 33-41-47 record and South Korea is third with 27-33-57.

Kazakhstan stays at fourth with 15-10-27 and Chinese Taipei has risen to fifth with 7-4-13.
(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2006)

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