Japan go from prostitutes to podium at Asian Games
JAKARTA, Aug 20, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Teenager Rikako Ikee spearheaded a golden
night for Japan’s swimmers on Monday after the expulsion of four basketball
players for using prostitutes rocked the Japanese team at the Asian Games.
Ikee, 18, won the women’s 100m freestyle and the 50m butterfly, Kanako
Watanabe took women’s 200m breaststroke gold and Japan’s men beat Sun Yang’s
China in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Sun, China’s fearsome triple Olympic champion, won the Games’ inaugural
800m freestyle title but Japan still outshone their fierce Asian swimming
rivals by four gold medals to three.
It provided a positive end to the day for Japan, who will host the next
Olympics in 2020, after the four basketball players were caught paying for
sex in a Jakarta red light district.
Yuya Nagayoshi, Takuya Hashimoto, Takuma Sato and Keita Imamura were
spotted in the area wearing team jerseys and “paid for the services of
prostitutes”, chef de mission Yasuhiro Yamashita said, according to Kyodo
“I just feel a sense of shame,” Japan’s chef de mission Yasuhiro Yamashita
told reporters. “We deeply apologise and intend to give the athletes thorough
guidance from now on.”
Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia,
the Games’ governing body, said the incident would serve as a warning to
“At the end of the day, representing your country isn’t only about winning
medals,” he said.
– Bollywood epic –
Elsewhere on day two, Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min scored the
only goal as South Korea beat Kyrgyzstan 1-0 to reach the last 16 in the
Son, who needs Asiad gold to be granted an exemption from his 21-month
compulsory military service, volleyed the winner in the 63rd minute to set up
a knock-out match with Iran.
In front of noisy crowds at the badminton, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting upset
Kidambi Srikanth 23-21, 20-22, 21-10 as Indonesia beat India 3-1 to set up a
men’s team semi-final against Japan. Indonesia’s women will also face Japan
in the badminton semi-finals after their 3-1 victory over South Korea. The
winner will play China or Thailand in the final.
Indonesia also had a double success in the mountain biking competition when
Tiara Andini Prastika won the women’s downhill and Khoiful Mukhib grabbed the
men’s gold medal.
China’s Yang Haoran and Zhao Ruozhu were crowned the men’s and women’s 10m
air rifle champions, both with Games record scores, and their team-mate Zhang
Xinqiu jumped for joy when she edged South Korea’s Kang Gee-eun to win the
“I felt like all my hard work had finally paid off,” she said with a
beaming smile. “I was so excited and emotional.”
North Korea won their first two gold medals of the Games when former
Olympic champion Om Yun Chol lifted a total of 287kg in the men’s 56kg
category and Ri Song Gum won the women’s 48kg.
And Vinesh Phogat became India’s first women’s wrestling champion at the
Asian Games to extend a family legacy in the sport which was immortalised in
a celebrated Bollywood film.
Phogat outclassed Japan’s Yuki Irie 6-2 to win the 50kg final in Jakarta
and was then hoisted on the shoulders of team staff draped in the Indian
The 23-year-old is a cousin of former Commonwealth champions Geeta and
Babita Kumari Phogat, whose rise from obscurity to wrestling fame was
captured in 2016’s ‘Dangal’, an international hit.
Lin Chaopan won the men’s all-around gymnastics title as China reached 15
gold medals late by the end of day two, ahead of Japan on eight and South
BSS/AFP/FI/ 2220 hrs