Asian Games 2018

Asian Games 2018: volleyball star Zhu Ting and swim sensation Sun Yang favourites to carry flag for China at opening ceremony

Reports in the mainland tipped the two Rio Olympic champions as favourites to be given the honour

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2018, 3:04pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 August, 2018, 3:04pm

Swimming’s bad boy Sun Yang and the world’s highest paid volleyball player Zhu Ting top the flag bearer list when China’s powerful 1,200-plus member delegation marches in at the Indonesia Asian Games opening ceremony next week.

Reports in the mainland tipped the two Rio Olympic champions, who both stand at around two metres in height, as favourites to be given the honour due to their impressive track records as China is poised to dominate the two-week long multi-sport games being held in Jakarta and Palembang.

Fencer Lei Sheng, the 2012 Olympic Games foil individual champion, was chosen as flag bearer for the Incheon Games two years later while at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, 2008 Olympic rowing champion Jin Ziwei performed the role for the hosts nation.

Both Sun and Zhu claimed gold medals at the Rio Olympics two years ago.

Zhu led the Chinese women to reclaim the champion since they last won it at the 2004 Athens Games and later became the world’s highest paid player with a reported annual salary of HK$12 million with her Turkish club Vakıfbank Istanbul. Zhu, 23, is among 19 Chinese Olympic champions that will compete in Indonesia, a list that also includes Sun.

Sun, 26, became the first Chinese male swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal when he clinched a double (400 metre and 1,500-metre freestyle) at the 2012 London Games, which was followed another gold (200-metre freestyle) at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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However, Sun, who will enter four individual events in Jakarta, will need to race in the 200-metre freestyle heats the morning after the opening ceremony and it’s feared that a drawn out ceremony may affect his performance.

Zhu has a group match the following morning.

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Another favourite is sprinter Su Bingtian, who equaled the Asian 100-metre record of 9.91 seconds in June, but Su stands at 1.72 metres only.

China will send 845 athletes to the games competing in 38 events. The two events it will skip are kabaddi and weightlifting as China is still under a international sanction.

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