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Stars shine, veterans impress, youngsters promise at Asiad

Updated:2010-11-28 10:20:58 Source: Xinhua

The 16th Asian Games may be remembered for years for furious medal battles, but will be carried for decades through people who shed tears, sweat or even blood in competition.

Among them are comeback stars, who had fallen off the peak but refused a quick withdrawal. They restated their form here, shaking off all the doubts against them.

Hurdler Liu Xiang, one of the most spotlight-catching athletes at the Asiad which was referred by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah as "one of the best ever", returned to his old style with a record-breaking performance.

The 2004 Olympic winner stormed to a new Asian record of 13.09 seconds Wednesday evening for his third straight Asiad title in the Men's 110m Hurdles, drawing loads of praises from both media and fans.

After 27 months of accumulation of energy, the 27-year-old, having recovered from an Achilles' tendon problem, announced the comeback of a king and that the Chinese Flying Man is ready to take off again.

Four-time Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima was the one to watch but failed to deliver. He finished fourth in the 50m and 100m Breaststroke and withdrew from the 200m, citing a nagging pain in his right shoulder, right elbow and left knee.

The 28-year-old, who took a year off before Guangzhou after capping the 100-200 Metres Double at the previous two Asian Games and the last two Olympics, has however vowed to bounce back after his injury-hit Asian Games.

"I forced myself to train for these Games by nursing pain," he told Japanese media after his country finished a distant second with nine Swimming gold medals behind the hosts China.

"I want to take care of my body because this is not the end," Kitajima added. "A regret is a regret. I want to refresh myself thoroughly,"

Other veterans impressed the world with their persistence.

Once a Dallas Maverick, China's first NBA player Wang Zhizhi played a key leadership in China's 77-71 final victory over Arch Rivals Korea as well as in their title-defending campaign.

In gratitude to his heroic performance, team players all put their gold medals around Wang's neck and playfully bowed to him following the award ceremony.

"I will continue to play for the national team and with Bayi (his club) if they want me," Wang confirmed after his last Asiad. "I will try my best to stay in top condition and hopefully I can play in the 2012 London Olympics."

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