Sun shines for China with first gold

A happy return to Indonesia for China's Sun Peiyuan, who won the changquan 2015 World Championship gold in Jakarta.
A happy return to Indonesia for China's Sun Peiyuan, who won the changquan 2015 World Championship gold in Jakarta.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA • Sun Peiyuan clinched the first gold of the 18th Asian Games in wushu to give powerhouses China the perfect start to their campaign yesterday.

The 29-year-old, decked out in an all-purple outfit, captured the men's changquan gold with 9.75 points after impressing with his acrobatic moves at the Jakarta International Expo in Kemayoran.

Hosts Indonesia also opened their medal account with Edgar Xavier Marvelo (9.72) claiming silver ahead of Tsai Tse-min (9.70) of Chinese Taipei.

"I knew if I performed well, I could win the gold. The pressure from the Indonesian athlete was mainly due to him competing on his home ground," said Sun, who helped China win the first gold of the Games for the fifth straight edition.

"I did not have my best performance, but I'm happy to win the first gold for China.

"I want to thank everybody for the support. I am glad that I didn't let you (the Chinese fans) down."

Marvelo, bronze medallist at last year's SEA Games, took up the sport after being inspired by Chinese martial arts movie stars Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee and the 19-year-old was nearly at a loss for words after his unexpected runner-up placing.

"I am speechless. It feels really good to have won the first medal for Indonesia. I present this medal to my parents, my family, my coaches and also to Indonesia," he said.

Lee Ha-sung's title defence ended in disappointment with the South Korean finishing a disappointing 12th out of 17 competitors, with 9.31 points.

He had given the then hosts their first gold medal at the Incheon Games four years ago.

It was a happy return to Indonesia for Sun, who won the changquan 2015 World Championship gold in Jakarta, a year after claiming the daoshu and gunshu golds at Incheon.

He did not compete in changquan at the Games' last edition and had vowed to take home the gold this time round.

China are the undisputed leaders in wushu with 10 golds in 2014.

More than 220 athletes will compete for 14 golds in the sport.

The Chinese are seen as the favourites in the 13 events they are participating in, having won 53 of the possible 75 gold medals since wushu's incorporation into the Games in 1990.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2018, with the headline 'Sun shines for China with first gold'. Print Edition | Subscribe