The Chinese delegation made an impressive start on the first day of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, on Sunday, clinching an astounding 20 gold medals across various sports, including rowing, shooting, wushu and swimming.
In the rowing events, local Hangzhou girl Zou Jiaqi took the first gold medal of the Hangzhou Asian Games to start a Chinese gold rush at the Fuyang Water Sports Centre. Zou and her doubles partner Qiu Xiuping rowed a strong race in the lightweight women's double sculls final to finish nearly 10 seconds ahead of Uzbekistan, to the delight of the watching crowds both in the grandstands and on the banks of the course.
Qiu said that she was extremely excited when she saw the national flag and heard the national anthem as they rowed past the finish line.
Zou told media that she wanted to tell her parents she was happy to see they were at the event.
Speaking of their next goal, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the pair did not hide that they are reaching for the top podium.
"Since we walked off the Hangzhou podium, Paris has become our goal," Qiu said. "We will restart from zero, completing every training session wholeheartedly. We hope to go to the top in Paris."
Later in the morning, Zhang Liang equaled the record of Li Jianxin by winning his fourth Asian Games gold medal in rowing. China won a further four of the five finals on the penultimate day of the rowing regatta. The men's pair was won by Lam San-tung and Wong Wai-chun, also marking China's Team Hong Kong's first gold medal of the ongoing Hangzhou Games.
China's six gold medals take their all-time Asian Games rowing total to 104, including 98 golds. The spectators at the event said that the Chinese rowers demonstrated their impeccable technique and stamina and that their remarkable performance set the tone for the rest of the day.
The Chinese wushu team displayed their agility, strength, and grace, captivating the audience with their breathtaking routines and clinching two gold medals in the men's Changquan final and women's Taijiquan and Taijijian all-round.
Winning the men's Changquan title, 34-year-old veteran Sun Peiyuan achieved his third consecutive Asian Games championships. He told the Global Times that he was excited after winning the title, despite enduring injuries during preparation for the Games.
"I feel that all the efforts of me and the team, every point of hard work has been rewarded. I have lived up to the expectations of my country and my family," Sun said.
The shooting range also witnessed China's prowess as the country's shooters claimed a gold medal each in the 10 meters air rifle women's team event and 10 meters air rifle women's final. In the 10 meters air rifle women's final, China's 17-year-old Huang Yuting won with a 252.7 ring and set a new Asian Games record.
Powered by world champions such as butterfly queen Zhang Yufei, men's individual medley specialist Wang Shun as well as prodigy Pan Zhanle, the Chinese swim team secured seven gold medals in all seven competitions on the first day.
China's butterfly specialist Zhang eased to victory in the women's 200 meters butterfly with an Asian Games record of 2:05.57.
Wang, who lit the Asian Games cauldron on Saturday night, was crowned the men's 200 meters individual medley champion after setting a new Asian record of 1:54.62 on Sunday.
Freestyle prodigy Pan Zhanle smashed the men's 100 meters freestyle Asian record with a sensational 46.97 seconds, becoming the first swimmer in Asia to break the 47-second barrier.
Distance swimmer Li Bingjie topped the women's 1,500 meters freestyle with a new Asian Games record of 15:51.18, while female breaststroke specialist Tang Qianting claimed the women's 50 meters breaststroke with 29.96 seconds.
Local favorite backstroker Xu Jiayu brought the tally to six as he won the men's 100 meters final with an impressive 52.23 seconds, also a new Asian Games record.
The night culminated with Chinese female swimming quartet Yang Junxuan, Cheng Yujie, Wu Qingfeng and Zhang Yufei winning the women's 4x100 meters freestyle relay with an Asian Games record of 3:33.96.
Sunday was also the concluding day of the Hangzhou Asian Games's Modern Pentathlon competitions, with the Chinese team collecting gold medals in the women's individual and women's team final.
The Hangzhou Games are scheduled to end on October 8. As the Asian Games continue, all eyes will be on the Chinese delegation as they strive to maintain their dominance and add to their impressive medal tally. The athletes' exceptional performances on the first day have undoubtedly inspired their teammates and instilled a sense of confidence in the entire delegation.