HANGZHOU: China blew past the 150-medal mark Thursday on Day 5 of the Asian Games, more than double the number of second-place South Korea as the home nation continued its decades-long domination of the event.
The hosts were bolstered by multiple golds in a home sport on Thursday, as Chinese athletes won the men's 70-, 60- and 56-kilogram finals in Wushu martial arts, as well as the women's 60- and 52-kilogram finals.
He Feng, who took gold in the 70-kilogram final by beating former Asian Games gold medalist Mohsen Mohammadseifi of Iran, was trailing in the first round and credited his coaches for helping him adjust.
"It is mainly the result of the tactics and training by the coach, then the most important thing is mentality, which determines success or failure," he said.
"I always tell myself not to give up, persistence is victory."
Host nations traditionally get a home-field "medal bump," and Feng said the crowd also helped keep him going. "Seeing so many people cheering for me, I think I can't give up, no matter how tired I am," Feng said.
China won almost 300 medals — 132 gold — five years ago at the Asian Games in Indonesia, with South Korea and Japan the main challengers. Similarly, the two countries were in second and third place for overall medals on Day 5 this year with another 10 days to go.
The Asian Games feature 12,500 participants from 45 nations and territories — more than the 10,500 from about 200 delegations expected at next year's Paris Olympics.
Despite its early dominance, China will have to settle for a battle for bronze in the popular League of Legends online video game after falling Thursday to the strong South Korean team led by Lee Sang-hyeok.
Lee, better known in the online gaming world as 'Faker', is commonly called the League of Legends 'GOAT' (Greatest Of All Time) and the South Korean team has yet to lose a game.
China was thought to be a challenge in the closely-watched match, but South Korea was able to win the best-of-three series 2-0. "I hope we can learn from today's lessons and play better tomorrow," said Chinese player Tian Ye, also known as 'Meiko'.
"I hope the players can adjust themselves well after today."
As the global games market continues to boom in number of players and revenue, esports takes its place this year at the Asian Games as a competition sport for the first time and so far it has been an audience favourite. It joins other 'mind games' like bridge and chess.
League of Legends is one of the most popular games, where two teams of five face each other in a bid to destroy the other's base.
China plays Vietnam on Friday for the bronze, while South Korea and Taiwan will battle for gold. "Although we won today's match against China, we still can't take it lightly in tomorrow's final," South Korean coach Kim Jeonggyun said.
Kazakhstan won two golds and a silver in shooting events on Thursday, while North Korea earned a gold, silver and bronze. Kazakhstan won gold in both the women's 10-meter running target and the skeet mixed team competition. It took silver in the women's team 10-meter running target as well.
North Korea won gold in the women's team 10-meter running target, and silver and bronze in the individual version of the same event.
In other shooting competitions, India won gold in the men's team 10-meter air pistol event, and Vietnam won gold in the individual version of the same event.