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Bahrain wins 10th Asian Games gold as runner Eunice Chumba places 1st in women's marathon

Eunice Chebichii Paul Chumba

HANGZHOU, China (AP) — The small island kingdom of Bahrain won its 10th gold medal Thursday at the Asian Games as runner Eunice Chebichii Paul Chumba took first place in the women's marathon.

Chumba was only a few seconds in front of silver medalist Zhang Deshun at 35 kilometers, but broke away to finish 1 minute, 41 seconds ahead of her in a winning time of 2:26:14.

Sardana Trofimova of Kazakhstan finished third for the bronze.

The 30-year-old Chumba, who began competing for Bahrain in 2014, said her training in her native Kenya, a country with a strong tradition of long-distance running, helped her win the gold in Hangzhou.

“The competition is very fierce in Kenya," she said after her win. “People start when they are young — when you go to school you have to walk long distances.”

Bahrain, a wealthy archipelago nation in the Persian Gulf, is the third smallest country in Asia after the Maldives and Singapore, but it is among the top 10 in gold medals on Day 12 of the 15-day Asian Games.

“We have a lot of talent,” Chumba said of Bahrain's contingent. “The country must be happy for me.”

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.

Host China has dominated, with more than 320 medals overall, more than half gold, followed by South Korea and Japan.

In the men's marathon on Thursday, He Jie of China took gold, finishing 25 seconds ahead of North Korean runner Han Ilryong with a time of 2:13:02. Yang Shaohui of China took bronze.

He said his training this year had been centered on the Asian Games competition, knowing that they would be “held in China and 1.4 billion Chinese people are watching.”

DRAGON BOAT

China won gold in both the men's and women's 500-meter dragon boat races.

The regionally-popular sport features a team of 12 paddlers in long, narrow boats decorated with Chinese dragon heads, who row to the beat of a drummer in the bow, with a steerer in the stern to guide the boat.

China's men's team edged out Indonesia by a fraction of a second for the gold, with Thailand finishing just behind in third place for the bronze.

China's women's team beat silver-medalist Indonesia by nearly two seconds for the gold, with Myanmar taking bronze more than 4 seconds behind the leader.

REGIONAL RIVALRIES

North Korea played South Korea in a preliminary women's volleyball match that had the feeling of a final. South Korea prevailed in the end.

North Korea leapt out to an early lead, taking the first of four sets by a score of 25-19. South Korea then came right back, winning the second set 25-21.

North Korea faltered in the 3rd set, however, dropping the game 25-9. The fourth and final set was close until South Korea pulled ahead near the end to win the game 25-20.

The two countries were not as evenly matched in their fight for the bronze medal in women’s basketball.

North Korea started strong in the first quarter, but then fell behind and couldn’t make up the ground with South Korea winning 93-63.

In baseball, regional rivals Japan and South Korea were scoreless through five innings. South Korea finally put a run on the board in the bottom of the 6th, when Kim Hyeseong led off the inning with a double to center, then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Choi Jihoon. Kim came in to score on a sacrifice fly to left field by Roh Sihwan.

South Korea added a run the 8th to win 2-0.

The baseball medal games are Saturday and final match-ups have not yet been determined.

SQUASH

India took gold in mixed doubles squash, beating Malaysia in two games.

Indian player Dipika Pallikal Karthik said shortly after the win that it hadn't quite sunk in yet that she and partner Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu had won.

“I'm just very, very happy to be on the winning side with Hari and I can't imagine it to be anyone else,” she said.

Sivasangari Subramaniam of Malaysia took gold in women's squash singles, beating Chan Sin Yuk of Hong Kong.

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