Asian Games: Indonesia and Bahrain stun China in sprint relay finals as Hong Kong finish down the track
China settle for bronze behind Japan and the hosts in the men’s final as even Su Bingtian can’t inspire his team to repeat gold in Jakarta
All eyes were on Chinese sprint king Su Bingtian ahead of the 4x100-metre relay finals at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Thursday night, but even China’s star man could do little to save his team’s bid for a second successive sprint relay gold.
China set the Asian Games record at the 2014 edition in Incheon and the consensus ahead of the final was that with 100m-gold medallist Su a much improved sprinter in the last 12 months, the medal was China’s for the taking despite an inevitably strong challenge from Japan.
In the event, Japan held a five-metre lead by the time the 29-year-old even took the baton and the Indonesian foursome, roared on by a modest but rapturous home crowd, put in the performance of a lifetime to deny China even the consolation of silver behind Japan, who won in 38.16 seconds and claimed a first Asian Games gold in the event in 20 years.
Hong Kong floundered in lane one managing just last place of the foursomes that finished the race.
Elsewhere in the women’s final, Bahrain streamed to victory setting a new Asian Games record of 47.23 seconds capping a disappointing night for China, who were overturned in the final 100m and had to settle for silver.
In the concluding leg, 20-year-old Naser Salwa had a full three metres to make up on China’s anchor, Yuan Qiqi, who appeared to be cruising to victory. But in an explosive finale, Salwa burst past Yuan and pulled two-metres clear herself, hoisting her arms in celebration before she had even breached the line.
Kazakhstan took the bronze medal, while Hong Kong finished a disappointing last.