Singapore’s Olympic champion Joseph Schooling offered some hope that a country other than China and Japan might win a swimming gold when he topped the times in the 100 metre butterfly heats in 52.31 seconds yesterday in Jakarta.
Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin, also an Olympic champion, got his Asian Games campaign underway in the 100m breaststroke heats after skipping the 200m for fear of aggravating a leg injury.
The 23-year-old, reigning champion in all three breaststroke events, swam 1:00.07 to finish second in his heat behind China’s Yan Zibei, whose time of 59.91 bettered the Kazakh’s Games’ record.
In the heats for the 400m medley, reigning champion Kosuke Hagino was second fastest behind fellow Japanese Daiya Seto (4.16.16) by one hundredth of a second.
On a good morning for Japan’s women, Chihiro Igarashi (2:00.21) was fastest in the 200m free, junior world record holder Suzuka Hasegawa (2:09.95) led the way in the 200m fly and Anna Konishi (1.00.44) topped the times in the 100m backstroke.
China and Japan, who between them have won all 21 golds in the pool so far, looked set for another battle in the 4x100m relay after setting the top two times in the heats, well clear of Singapore in third place.
Chen Zhouli ensured China made a winning start to the day by clinching the gold medal in wushu. Chen’s victory ensures he repeated his 2014 success in the men’s taijiquan and taijijian all-round competition.
Japan’s Tomohiro Araya won silver while Myanmar’s Ko Ko Nyein Chan took the bronze.