Christie wins host Indonesia’s signature gold at Asian Games
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Every host has a signature event that defines the success of the games, at least in the context of sports.
Jonatan Christie won that event for the 2018 Asian Games hosts with a 21-18, 20-22, 21-15 win over Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen to secure the badminton men’s singles gold medal for Indonesia.
The 21-year-old Christie, nicknamed Jojo, grabbed the national attention with his shirt-shedding celebration following his semifinal win, and intensified it with his pressure-packed victory in the final.
Just like Tan Joe Hok did in 1962 when Indonesia last hosted the games.
Christie peeled off his shirt again to celebrate the gold, and twirled his pointer finger around for emphasis. He saluted when the Indonesian flag was raised above the podium.
“This win is historic for Indonesian badminton,” he said.
Badminton is the national sport in Indonesia, although it hasn’t won the men’s singles title at the Asian Games since Taufik Hidayat won back-to-back golds in 2002 and ’06. Lin Dan of China won both in between.
The hosts picked up another badminton gold in men’s doubles — it was an all-Indonesian final — after top-ranked Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan beat India’s Olympic and world championship silver medalist and millionaire Pusarla Venkata Sindhu 21-13, 21-16 in 36 minutes for the women’s singles final.
China leads the medal standings with 97 gold and 206 overall after 320 events, and reclaimed top spot in the track and field table from Bahrain with two days to go. China has nine gold and 20 medals overall at track, one more gold and four medals overall more than Bahrain.
Bahrain capped the night with victory in the first mixed 4×400-meter relay, a combination of two men and two women, in 3 minutes, 11.89 seconds. India took silver and Kazakhstan bronze.
For China, Li Ling defended her pole vault title with a games record of 4.60 meters, unable to clear an attempt at her own continental record when she missed at 4.71.
Xie Wenjun successfully defended his 110-meter hurdles title, Wang Chunyu beat two-time defending champion Margarita Mukasheva of Kazakhstan to win the women’s 800, and Liu Shiying won the women’s javelin.
Majit Singh led a surprising 1-2 finish for India in the men’s 800, winning in 1:46.15.
The Jiang twins from China created history by winning the duet in artistic swimming, returning to the Asian Games after skipping the 2014 edition to have children.
Both had baby daughters and spent two years away from the sport before deciding in 2016 to make a comeback.
“This is a very significant medal because it means so much to us and our families,” Jiang Wenwen said. “I think our performance demonstrated that mothers can do anything in sport and this will be a very good example for our children.”
The 31-year-old siblings, gold medalists in 2006 and 2010 and the oldest artistic swimmers to compete at the Asian Games, topped the technical and free routines to win with 186.5101 points, more than four clear of Yukiko Inui and Megumu Yoshida, who took silver for Japan. Another set of twins, Yekaterina and Alexandra Nemich, collected bronze for Kazakhstan.
South Korea’s Na Ah-reum picked up her third gold medal of the games when she joined Kim You-ri, Kim Hyun-ji and Lee Ju-mi to win the women’s team pursuit at the track cycling velodrome in 4:31.222.
Na last week became the first cyclist to win both the road race and time trial at the same Asian Games.
China won the men’s pursuit and Sarah Lee Wai-sze defended her title in the women’s keirin for Hong Kong.
South Korea won three of the four gold medals in archery, and Malaysia picked up sepaktakraw gold in men’s regu.
One of the most dominating runs of the games continued at the field hockey, where defending champion India finished off the group stage with a 20-0 win over Sri Lanka, improving its for-and-against record to 76-3 in four games.