BEIJING - China powered ahead in the medals table at the East Asian Games Wednesday, dominating the martial arts events as they reached their climax.
Wednesday's haul in the northern port city of Tianjin included six of the gold medals to be contested in the "sanshou" events -- in which gloved fighters confront each other in physical combat. Among the victorious Chinese fighters at the 10-day regional contest were Xiao Chun, who won the 52 kilogram event, and Li Kang, who claimed gold in the 56 kilogram category. South Korea's Ham Gwansik took gold in the 65 kilogram event, while Hong Kong's Li Sone-wai won the 60 kilogram contest.
Chinese women fighters Feng Yufang (48 kilogram) and Qiu Tiao (52 kilograms) also took gold in their categories. China also took six gold medals in the "taolu" events, in which athletes do not engage in fights but are assessed on their techniques. Liang Yongda took the gold for men's "nanquan" and "nangun", where fighters are assessed on their techniques in a type of boxing which translates into English as "Southern Fist", and also their combat techniques using a stick-like weapon.
Chinese women's pair Zhao Longlong and Xin He also claimed gold in their non-combative event. Hong Kong took a pair of "taolu" golds, one in a men's event and the other in a women's event assessing techniques in stick and sword weapon use. But not everything went perfectly for the hosts, with their men's 3m synchronised diving team leading as they went into the final round but failing with their last dive, scoring zero and finishing third behind Japan and South Korea.
By the end of competition Wednesday, China had a total of 67 gold medals overall, ahead of South Korea on 17 and Japan on 13. This year's competition features more than 2,400 athletes from China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Guam, competing in 24 different sports. It is the last time the East Asian Games will be held in their current form, the state news agency Xinhua reported, with the event due to be transformed into a youth games for athletes aged 14 to 18.