China, the host nation, clinched the inaugural gold medal at the Asian Games on Sunday, September 24, in a spectacular display of dominance in the women’s lightweight double sculls rowing final. Zou Jiaqi and Qiu Xiuping of China powered through the competition and secured their victory.
The Chinese duo completed the race with an impressive time of 7 minutes and 6.78 seconds, leaving their nearest rivals, Luizakhon Islamova and Malika Tagmativa of Uzbekistan, nearly 10 seconds behind, claiming the silver medal. Indonesia’s Chelsea Corputty and Rahma Mutiara Putri secured the bronze medal at the Fuyang Water Sports Centre.
The first day of the 19th Asian Games featured competitions in nine sports, with China, as the host nation, anticipated to excel and lead the medal table. The swimming events were set to feature seven finals later in the day, while disciplines like shooting, wushu, gymnastics, fencing, judo, taekwondo, and modern pentathlon were all preparing to crown their respective champions.
The Games commenced with a vibrant ceremony on Saturday night, inaugurated by Chinese President Xi Jinping. China’s now-abandoned zero-COVID policy originally postponed this two-week sporting extravaganza, which boasts a larger athlete contingent than the Olympics, by a year.
With over 12,000 competitors representing 45 nations and territories, the Asian Games will showcase their skills in 40 sports. While the official opening took place on Saturday, some sports like football, cricket, volleyball, and table tennis had already commenced their preliminary rounds.
The Games will spread across 54 venues, including 14 newly constructed ones. Hangzhou will primarily host the Games, but some events will also occur in distant cities like Wenzhou, located 300 kilometers to the south.