Fenella Ng Gar-loc's Asian gold medal hopes were shattered yesterday after a performance of devastating power from China's Ou Shaoyan left the Hong Kong lightweight sculler trailing in the mainlander's wake. A slow start from Ng was ruthlessly exploited by her 26-year-old opponent from Guangdong and by the time Ng eventually found her feet, the race for gold was effectively over. After 500 metres, Ou had opened up a one-second lead over Ng and by the time they reached the halfway mark on 1,000 metres, it had widened to more than four seconds. Against a rower of Ou's class, recovering such a deficit was always going to be a tall order and with the gap lengthening to eight seconds at the 1,500-metre marker, Ng realised it was a lost cause and was forced to concentrate on securing silver, which she did easily ahead of Thailand's Nikree Phuttharaksa in a time of seven minutes and 59.05 seconds. Winner Ou crossed in 7:47.34. In many ways Ng, regarded as one of Hong Kong's strongest gold medal candidates before the Asian Games, can consider herself unlucky. She was done no favours by the draw for yesterday's straight final, stuck in lane one, bang smack in the centre of the picturesque Mapprachan Reservoir, with Ou in lane six, as far away from the Hong Kong rower as it was possible to be. Ng's sense of isolation from the field was made more acute by the fact that Japan's Akiki Asano withdrew from the race shortly beforehand, leaving Ng with a blank lane next to her. The troubled buildup to the race - poor weather earlier in the week meant Ng was only to have three out of a scheduled eight on-water practice sessions - also hampered her task. But to their credit Ng and coach Chris Perry were not looking to offer excuses afterwards. 'She raced a better race than me on the day. I made a few mistakes early on and by the time I got going I'd lost contact and she was in control . . . it's disappointing but a silver medal is a silver medal. There are a lot of people who would like to be in my position,' Ng said. 'Ou is a worthy champion and there's no disgrace in finishing second to her,' she added. 'It's a shame I wasn't closer to her early on because I think I would have made a better race of it. I got left behind a bit at the start and that was crucial. 'In the end, though, I just thought it better to play safe and make sure of silver. I could have blown a gasket trying to catch her in the final part of the race and ended up with nothing,' Ng added. Coach Perry praised Ng's performance and made the point that at previous Asian Games, silver medal would have been cause for riotous celebrations. 'If this had happened four years ago, I think a lot of the people would have been jumping up and down with excitement that we had won a silver,' Perry said. 'But the fact that the whole Hong Kong squad have done so well this year means that the bar has been raised . . . expectations are higher. 'Of course we are disappointed. You can never be satisfied when you set your sights on a gold medal and you don't get it . . . but Fenella lost to a world-class rower today.' The strength of China's rowing challenge was underscored by the fact that the mainland swept gold in all five rowing finals yesterday. Ng completes her Asian Games when she steps up a class to race in the final of the heavyweight single sculls today, where she will again come up against strong Chinese opposition in the shape of Zhang Xiuyun . 'Fenella will be giving away about 15 to 20 kilos but she has got a good chance of a medal,' Perry said.