Rising tennis star Zheng Qinwen was another notable winner for China in Hangzhou on the sixth day of action, beating compatriot Zhu Lin 6-2, 6-4 to clinch the women’s title.
The hosts also won the first gold medals in athletics as Zhang Jun came first in the men’s 20km race walk and teammate Yang Jiayu did the same in the women’s event. China also won gold medals in artistic gymnastics.
They were particularly dominant in the pool, putting in a series of performances that will not have gone unnoticed by their rivals around the world with less than 10 months to go until the Paris Olympics.
On the final day of swimming, world champion Qin completed the breaststroke hat-trick and Zhang won a sixth gold medal.
China easily topped the final swimming medal table with 28 gold medals. South Korea has won six and Japan five.
Along with Qin and Zhang, Pan Zhanle became only the fifth man under 47 seconds in the 100m freestyle, while China was on the verge of breaking two relay world records.
Wang Shun achieved the seventh fastest 200m medley in history.
“Our results show that we are returning to our peak,” warned Xu Jiayu, who won five gold medals.
“I believe this is a sign that there could be better things and better results to come.”
Rock star treatment
In eSports, which enjoyed great success in its Games debut as a medal event, South Korea beat Taiwan in the League of Legends final in front of a packed crowd at the 4,500-seat Hangzhou Esports Center .
This gold medal allowed South Korean star Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok and his teammates to obtain an exemption from military service.
The bespectacled Lee, 27, received the rock star treatment and onlookers shouted “Faker! Faker!” during the medal ceremony.
Any South Korean athlete can skip full military service if they win gold at the Asian Games.
Exemptions are controversial, even more so for eSports, which is still considered by some to be out of place during a major international multi-sport event.
They are also rare. Fewer than 100 “arts and sports” exemptions were granted last year, according to official statistics.
In tennis, Zheng, a US Open quarter-finalist ranked 23rd in the world, can now capture gold at the Games with her first WTA title, which she won in July in Palermo, Italy.
“I feel different because here I am representing my country. In Palermo it was my personal achievement,” said Zheng, affectionately known to her growing number of fans as “Queen Wen”.
China has not done everything it wanted, even though it has passed the Golden Age mark.
Japan won gold and silver in the men’s individual triathlon thanks to Kenji Nener and Makoto Odakura.
The Japanese were also in scintillating form over four days of track cycling, collecting three more gold medals on Friday.
First case of doping reported
An Afghan boxer has been provisionally suspended for failing a doping test, the International Testing Agency (ITA) announced, the first drug case reported at the Games.
Mohammad Khaibar Nooristani, 37, beaten in the preliminary rounds of the 71kg category in Hangzhou on Monday, tested positive for two banned substances, the ITA said.
Both were anabolic steroids.
“The athlete has been informed of the case and has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect. He has the right to request the analysis of the B sample,” the ITA added.