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Thai lifter breaks Chinese monopoly but China rumble on

Written by: Staff

DOHA, Dec 4 (Reuters) Thailand put a dent in China's Asian Games armour today, snatching a weightlifting gold and a world record, to end the Chinese monopoly of the sport in Doha.

Elsewhere, however, the Chinese behemoth rumbled on, amassing medals to stretch further into the lead at the December 1-15 sporting spectacle.

With 34, China has won more than half the 60 golds awarded so far. The next most succesful nation is Japan with eight.

South Korea lie third on five golds, with Kazakhstan a surprise fourth with four -- three on the shooting range and one in the pool.

Pawina Thongsuk's 142kg clean and jerk ended Thailand's 40-year wait for an Asian Games weightlifting gold and made her the first non-Chinese to win a title in the three days at the Al-Dana banqueting hall.

''I've been at the Asian Games three times and this is my first gold medal so I'm very pleased,'' said Pawina, who completed a set of Olympic, world championships, Asian championships, Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games gold medals.

HEATED RIVALRY At Sport City, badminton's most heated rivalry hit the courts again when world number one Lin Dan and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat clashed for the second time in three days.

In another intense battle, Hidayat, who was docked ranking points and prize money after storming out mid-match against Lin in August, again lost to his Chinese rival in the men's team semi-final.

There were no histrionics this time, just breathtaking badminton, with Lin winning 22-20 13-21 21-12.

The pair's expected meeting in the men's singles later this week is eagerly anticipated.

Japan's shuttlers had plenty to smile about when they broke a 24-year hoodoo to reach the final of the women's team event for only the second time in Games history.

The Japanese thumped Singapore 3-0, but the Singaporeans can console themselves with bronze -- their first Asian Games medal for women's team badminton.

Qatar picked up their first medal of the Games when their running target shooters finished third in the women's team event.

Less impressive was the fact they also finished last of the three teams entered.

Thai teen Thanyalak Chotpaibunsin helped earn the kingdom its first shooting gold medal of Games.

The 16-year-old Chiang Mai schoolgirl grabbed gold in the 50m rifle prone team event, and also bagged silver in the individual competition.

China and Kazakhstan each grabbed two more golds at the range, giving the Chinese 12 of the 18 titles up for grabs so far, with four days left in the competition.

Reuters DH RS2129

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