ALL THE NEWS, ACTION AND REACTION LIVE FROM INCHEON 2014 AS IT HAPPENS!

By Duncan Mackay and Nick Butler in Incheon
Click refresh for latest updates. All times stated are South Korean

BREAKING NEWS: Jakarta awarded 2018 Asian Games (see 11:18)

Goodnight! 

22:40
But, reflecting on today, we learned lots of things we didn't know at the start of our marathon shift, the most surprising of which, undoubtedly, is that South Korea have a women's cricket team (see 11:50 and 12:50). The highlight, however, was the gold medal won by North Korea's Om Yun-Chol, who broke his own clean and jerk world record in thrilling fashion to take the men's under 56 kilogram weightlifting title. To read the full report from "Mr Weighlifting" Nick Butler click here

Tomorrow we are expecting to discover lots more surprising facts. We are particularly keen to find out more about sepaktakraw, a sort of kick volleyball which is native to Southeast Asia and has a passionate following there.

We will also be continuing our mascot hunt (see 15:55). The three seals Barame, Vichuon, and Chumuro - wind, dance and light in Korean - have been conspicuous by their absence at these Games so far. We suggest an overnight call to Clyde. He would soon give them a few pointers on this mascot malarky. 

If you want to share the journey of discovery with us then we will be back online with a brand new blog at 09:00.

Until then, goodnight! 

Park Tae-hwan hoping to make history at the Park Tae-hwan Aquatics Center

22:20
The action is over for today after 18 gold medals were awarded. But that is a quiet day compared to tomorrow when there will be 24 available, including six at the Munhak Park Tae-hwan Aquatics Center where South Korea's swimming icon Park Tae-hwan, who will be looking to take his third straight Asian Games gold medal in an arena named after him.

He will first race first in the 200m freestyle, which gave him two gold medals at the previous Asian Games in 2006 and 2010. Park will compete with arch-rival Sun Yang of China, who is hoping to spoil the housewarming party. I guess the only analogy I could think of would have been if Sir Chris Hoy had competed at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome during Glasgow 2014 and been beaten by Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Park Tae-hwan will start as favourite for a third consecutive Asian Games gold medal at the Park Tae-hwan Aquatics Center. Obviously. ©AFP/Getty Images


Another big home hope is Yang Hak-seon in the men's individual and the final for the men's team events. Nicknamed "God of Vault," Yang won gold in the men's vault four years ago and became the first South Korean gymnast to claim Olympic gold in the apparatus at London 2012.

Hey, you're a rock star baby


Incheon 2014 gold medal21:50 South Korea's lead at the top of the medals table (see 21:20) came thanks to them winning the two fencing golds on offer today. 

There were two all-South Korean finals on the day at Goyang Gymnasium in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, north of Incheon. First, Lee Ra-jin stunned Kim Ji-yeon, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist, in the women's sabre final by the score of 15-11. Jung Jin-sun followed suit, beating Park Kyoung-doo in the men's epee final, 15-9, his individual Asian Games title following team golds at Doha 2006 and Guangzhou 2010. 

In the women's event, Lee quickly moved into a 5-1 lead over the flustered Kim, who ha also won this year's Asian Championships gold medal two months ago. Kim made a comeback and caught up to 13-10, only for her rival to stretch away again. 

"She and I always talked about how great it'd be if we met in the gold-medal bout," said Lee after the first all-South Korean women's sabre final since the last time the country hosted these Games, at Busan in 2002. "It became reality today, and I've never beaten her at a major event before. After our bout, we didn't really talk to each other. I just embraced her."

South Korea's Jung Jin-sun celebrates after beating team-mate Park Kyoung-Doo to claim epee individual fencing at Incheon 2014 ©AFP/Getty Images

Fencing is expected to be one of South Korea's most mined source of gold medals here. It won nine gold medals, including all six individual titles, at this year's Asian Championships in Suwon. At London 2012 they won six medals, including two gold, as they finished second only to Italy. It was their best-ever performance. It probably explained why this sport was one of the best attended of the day here. 

Jung fed off the atmosphere in what was the first all-Korean meeting in the Asian Games men's epee final since Bangkok 1998. "It wasn't easy facing a fellow South Korean in the final," said the London 2012 bronze medallist. "I came up short in the last two Asian Games, and fortunately, I was able to capitalise on another chance this time. I thought I was in a rock concert. I think we're finally growing more popular."

Singapore's Singapore's Lim Wei Wen and Vietnam's Tien Nhat Nguyen claimed the bronze medals in the men's epee following their semi-final defeats. 

China's Chen Shenand Fei Li took the minor medals in the women's sabre. 

Quote marks"I'm so sorry that I couldn't win a gold medal. However, I feel so relieved about taking third place. I'm from Ansan, and people in Ansan are so depressed after the Sewol ferry disaster. I hope that this medal can cheer up the bereaved families" - South Korean judoka Jeong Bo-kyeong puts everything into perspective after her bronze medal in the under 48kg  

Scores on the door show South Korea ahead of China


21:20 Amid that flurry of action the host country South Korea have sneaked ahead of China at the top of the medals table. Both countries are on five gold medals each but South Korea have moved ahead by virtue of their five silver, compared to their rival's one. For South Korea, it's bit like one of those early-season football league tables you see. You know it won't last and reality will kick in soon, but that doesn't stop you dreaming for a bit. To see the latest medal table click here

Kazakhstan end Mongolia hat-trick bid in judo

Incheon 2014 gold medal21:08
Time to draw breath and bring you back up-to-date with what's been happening while we were following events at the Moonlight Festival Garden Weightlifting Venue (I love typing that, I don't know why...)

The last judo gold medal of the night has been awarded in the under 60kg with Kazakhstan's Yeldos Smetov beating Boldbaatar Ganbat, who was chasing Mongolia's third victory of the evening. Ganbat led early on before Smetov edged ahead before completing the job with an ippon.

Kim Won-jin of South Korea and Toru Shishime of Japan grabbed the bronze medal this year's Asian Games. They beat and Taiwan's Ming Yen Tsai and Uzbekistan's Sharafuddin Lutfillaev respectively. 

20:56
Remember, the North Korean flag and National Anthem are still officially banned here so it is hard to underplay the importance of Om Yumchol's fantastic victory. 

North Korea's Om Yun-Chol sets a world record to claim victory in the under 56kg weightlifting ©AFP/Getty Images


World record iconWorld record for North Korea!


Nick Butler"But wait, Om Yumchol is taking his last attempt and he is going for a clean and jerk world record!‏ He steps up to attempt 170kg. Completes the snatch, grimaces, pauses, heaves, stumbles slightly, grimaces again, and holds, and holds...And he's done it! A world record to confirm the first North Korean gold medal of Incheon 2014! Wonderful stuff and the North Koreans behind me have burst into a rendition of their National Anthem!‏ An historic moment at Incheon 2014" - Nick Butler did warn you not to write off the North Korean. We don't call him "Mr Weightlifting" in our office for nothing. 

North Korean flagIncheon 2014 gold medalFirst gold medal for North Korea in South Korea



Nick Butler"A big, big moment as Om Yumchol lifts 166kg to take the lead over Thach Kim Tuan of Vietnam by virtue of his lighter bodyweight. That is the gold medal although he has one attempt left. When the pressure is on champions perform and the reigning Olympic gold medallist has proved his quality there. There are North Korean flags flying behind me amid thunderous applause, and chants of 'Om Yum-chol'reverbrating around the arena. Cruel for Thach Kim Tuan who lifted 160kg for a superb 294kg total, the same as Om, but he will have to be content with silver. In third is Wu Jingbiao of China" - Nick Butler sees a North Korean claim a gold medal in South Korea 

Nakamura wins Japan's first gold medal of Incheon 2014


Incheon 2014 gold medal20:27 What is it they say? If you want something doing properly, ask a woman. Well, they do in my house anyway. The Japanese will be subscribing to that maxim too after they finally claim their first gold medal of Incheon 2014. It came courtesy of Misato Nakamura, who won the under 52kg category, beating Turkmenistan's Gulbadam Babamuratova, to retain the title she won in Guangzhou four years ago. 

The bronze medals were won by South Korea's Jung Eun-jung, who scored an ippon against China's Ma Yingnan. The other bronze was claimed by Kazakhstan's Lenariya Mingazova, also by ippon over India's Kalpana Thoudam.

Mongolia on roll as more gold medal despair for Japan

Incheon 2014 gold medal20:21
 Mongolia claims its second judo gold medal of the night as Tumurkhuleg Davaadorj beat Japanese favouriteTomofumi Takajo by way an ippon.

Uzbekistan's Mirzokhid Farmovov defeated Rasul Abdusharipov of Tajikistan, also by an ippon, to claim one of the two bronze medals. Kazakhstan's Azamat Mukanov took the other bronze, beating Chia Hung Chien of Chinese Taipei by shido.

Nick Butler"Early stages of the clean and jerk section of the men's under 56kg weightlifting now. Tran Le Quoc Toan, the Vietnamese number two, is the overall leader on 280kg but the three men in the podium positions after the snatch are still to come. In fact, there goes Wu Jiingbiao of China, the London 2012 runner-up, as I type. He lifts 155kg for a total of 288kg and a comfortable lead as it stands. The new world junior record holder, and leader after the snatch, Thach Kim Tuan of Vietnam is entering at 156kg and Om Yunchol, the London 2012 champion bidding for a first North Korean gold here in Incheon, is entering at 160kg" - "Mr Weightlifting" Nick Butler keeps us updated from the Moonlight Festival Garden Weightlifting Venue. I suppose they had to add the "Weightlifting Venue" bit just to make sure foreigners like us didn't mistake it for it a takeway...

"Write off the North Korean at your peril"

Nick Butler"The snatch competition in the men's under 56kg event has just come to a close here at the Moonlight Festival Garden Weightlifting Venue, and it ended with a world junior and Asian senior record as Thach Kim Tuan of Vietnam lifted 134kg. He won the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games title in 2010 in Singapore and the 20-year-old is on course for a senior breakthrough. But he will have his work cut out to stay in front. Wu Jingbiao of China is just a mere kilogram behind and he is the reigning Olympic silver medallist. Then in third at the moment is the man who beat him in London, Om Yunchol of North Korea. He only lifted 128kg in the snatch but is a clean and jerk specialist, the clean and jerk world record holder in fact. Write him off at your peril at this stage, I have been told. This competition is tantalisingly poised. Another good aspect to report is the vibrant atmosphere in the arena. It is quite a small venue admittedly, but, that is better than a big one with a lot of empty seats and every lifter is getting loud cheers when they take the stage" - Nick Butler at the Moonlight Festival Garden Weightlifting Venue

Japan wait for gold medal goes on but North Korea on the board (see 18:55)

Incheon 2014 gold medal19:56
Japan's wait for that first gold medal will go on a bit longer after defeat in the judo. Mongolia's Urantsetseg Munkhbat beat Emi Yamagishi in the final of the under 48kg with her waza-ari.

The first bronze was won by North Korea's Solmi Kim, their first medal of these Games. She beat Kazakhstan's Aigul Baikuleva with an ippon. The second bronze went to China's Shugen Wu, victor over South Korea's Bokyeong Jeong by a shido. 

Dressage gold for South Korea (see 17:44 and 17:14)

19:40
 More on South Korea claiming their expected gold in the team dressage equestrian event, extending its winning streak at to five consecutive Games. 

Hwang Young-shik, Chung Yoo-yeon and Kim Dong-seon of South Korea combined for an average of 71.746 points, ahead of second-place Japan with 69.842 points on average.

Hwang, 23, was the best rider among all 32 with 74.342 points. The gold was his third consecutive title at the Asian Games following two golds at Guangzhou four years ago. "I didn't feel pressured because our teammates showed excellent performance today," said Hwang. "I will try to do my best next matches, as well."

The dressage team final doubled as the first individual qualification round. Up to the three best riders from each country may proceed to the second round tomorrow.

South Korea has swept all the golds up for grabs in the discipline in the past four Asian Games. It has collected 11 golds since the inaugural Games in Delhi 1951, trailing only Japan.

Chinese Taipei unexpectedly took the third place and their total score was 67.386 percent. Proably the most attention, though, went to seventh-placed Thailand due  the participation of Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana (see 14:28), drawing plenty of interest from the media. "I'm really confident in both myself and my horse," she said aftewards. "I feel very good and I'm happy to finish the performance."

19:32
I tell you what these Games have been missing so far? Selfies! Nanjing 2014 went selfie crazy after IOC President Thomas Bach urged everyone to take as many as possible. Surely in the land of Samsung it must be illegal not to take them? To get the ball rolling, here's a member of the Bahrain delegation at last night's Opening Ceremony snapping himself marching out into the snappily-titled Asiad Main Stadium. 

A member of the Bahrain delegation takes a selfie during the Opening Ceremony of Incheon 2014 ©BOC


19:26
We saw a number of one-sided hockey matches during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and it seems we are going to have more of the same here as news filters through of Pakistan's men beating Sri Lanka 14-0 in their opening match of the tournament. 

Crisis? What crisis? (see 16:34, 13:48 and 10:41)

19:19
Amazing what a few medals can do to lift the team's spirits. As we reported yesterday the Indian shooting team was a nest of discontent after a mix-up meant they had to fly back to New Delhi from the World Championships in Granada to pick-up visas, delaying their arrival here

But now, following a gold medal for Jitu Rai in the men's 50m air pistol and bronze for Shweta Chaudhry in the women's 10m air pistol, it's all smiles, it appears. Leading the congratulations has been IOC member Raninder Singh, President of the National Rifle Association of India. 

He was particularly effusive in his praise of Rai, who earlier this year won a Commonwealth Games gold medal at Glasgow 2014 and a World Championships silver. "It's a great feeling to see Jitu Rai do it again," said Singh. "His consistency and hunger for more has helped him outclass the field very often.

"Jitu has earned the rare distinction in international shooting - for a single athlete to earn a medal for his country in every competition he has participated in this calendar year. He is truly a phenomenon and inspiration to our country and his team mates. We hope that he earns many more laurels for us in the days to come."

South Korea edge out China to claim cycling gold

Incheon 2014 gold medal19:09 
South Korea struck its first cycling gold in the men's team sprint as they reversed the result of the women's event. The trio of Kang Dong-jin, Yim Chae-bin and Son Je-yong clocked in at 59.616 after racing three laps of the 333.3m velodrome at the Incheon International Velodrome edging China's Xu Chao, Hu Ke, and Bao Saifei, who finished in 59.960.

Japan beat Iran by more than a second to claim bronze. 

Japan hoping to end gold medal drought in judo

18:55 It could be Mongolia's or Japan's day in the judo. They each have three representatives in tonight's finals.

In the men's competition, Kazakhstan's Yeldos Smetov will fight Boldbaatar Ganbat of Mongolia in men's  under-60kg.  Another Mongolian, Tumurkhuleg Davaadorj, will meet Japan's Tomofumi Takajo in the final of the under 66kg.

In the women's, Mongolia's Urantsetseg Munkbat, will meet another Japanese, Emi Yamagishi in the under 48kg division. Meanwhile, in the women's under 52kg, Turkmenistan's Gulbadam Babamuratova will take on Misato Nakamura from Japan. 

Remember, Japan are still seeking their first gold medal of these Games. 

China win first cycling gold

Incheon 2014 gold medal18:49
Another event, another Chinese victory. In the velodrome this time as Zhong Tianshi and Gong Jinjie claim the women's team sprint gold after edging South Korea in the final.

Taiwan take the bronze medal after beating Japan.

Synchronised swimming meets James Bond

18:42
China's Huang Xuechen and Sun Wenyan, who won synchronised swimming duet gold earlier, won with what has been referred to as a "James Bond" routine. They struck a fierce 'Bond villain' pose and aimed imaginary revolvers around the arena before entering the water. The electro-pop music they performed to featured samples of rifle clips being locked and apparently ending with a "beep, beep, beep" and a bang, according to the Times of India report.

I'm not sure if this performance was actually inspired by James Bond, by I was fascinated to discover, when visiting for the Nanjing 2014, how aware of British culture young Chinese people are, as distinct from American offerings.

One volunteer told me excitedly about how his favourite television programme was the BBC's Downton Abbey. They were a couple of series behind the UK audience, however...

China celebrate synchronised swimming gold ©Getty Images

Evening on day one

18:32 A packed evening programme of sport is getting underway soon. We have the two track cycling finals imminently and then we have four weight categories of in judo and two individual events in fencing. There is also the small matter of the men's under 56kg weightlifting competition to come.

18:21
One sport we haven't mentioned today is water polo. A couple of matches in the women's competition have already finished. Wins for Uzbekistan over Singapore and for Kazakhstan over Hong Kong, the latter by a mammoth margin of 25-1.

18:14
While sporting action has officially started today, in football it has been going on for almost a week already. One match today, between Hong Kong and North Korea in the women's competition, and the North Koreans are continuing their unbeaten record in men's and women's football so far. They lead 3-0. 

First gold for Kazakhstan

Incheon 2014 gold medal18:03 
Margarita Yelisseyeva has won the first weightlifting title of the Games, with a victory for Kazakhstan in the women's under 48kg division. She wins by seven kilograms with a total of 194kg for her first medal at any international championship, and a golden one to boot.

In second place is Sri Wahyuni Agustiani of Indonesia while bronze was claimed by Mahliyo Togoeva of Uzbekistan. The duo, along with fourth place finisher Paek Ilhwa of North Korea, all finished tied on 187kg, with the order decided by virtue of their bodyweight, with the lighter the lifter, the better the placing.

No medals for North Korea...but still on the medals table?

17:52
Yonhap News Agency, the official agency of Incheon 2014, seem to have included North Korea on their medals table - on the right hand side of this screenshot - even though they haven't won a medal yet. That could all change later, because London 2012 Olympic champion Om Yun-chol, is the favourite for the under 56kg competition...

Yonhap's medal table of Incheon 2014 ©Incheon 2014

Action on two wheels and four legs...

Incheon 2014 gold medal17:44
Confirmation now that South Korea have claimed that team dressage gold medal. A dominant display by the host nation, to win with 71.737 points, ahead of Japan and Taiwan. 

17:34
A bit of a lull in the velodrome before the team sprint medal races begin. But to plug the gap we have the men's team pursuit qualifying. I don't think these teams are going to threaten Great Britain's world record of 3:51.659s, but there's some good calibre nonetheless.

Japan have posted the quickest time so far, of 4:12.711, with Uzbekistan and Iran second and third. Four strong teams are still to come, consisting of South Korea, Hong Kong and China, who won gold, silver and bronze respectively four years ago in Guangzhou, as well as Kazakhstan, the country whose team hold the Asian Record of 4:04.809. That mark was set at a World Cup event in Aguascalientes, Mexico, way back in 2005.

17:23
Another of those periods where not too much is going on, in terms of medals action at least, although plenty of sport occurring in all parts of the host city. On our screens in the Media Centre alone, we can see badminton, basketball, handball, volleyball and weightlifting.

Action has also been continuing, until very late, at the OCA General Assembly. And that means the post-event press conference, with OCA chief Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, has now been delayed overnight and will take place at 09:45 tomorrow morning. 

Host nation heading for dressage glory

Another South Korean team member, Kim Dongeson, celebrates after a strong ride ©AFP/Getty Images

17:14
South Korea are rising in cricket and guaranteed medals in cycling. They are also closing in on medals in dressage. Their team has posted a collective score of 71.737 to comfortably lead Japan and Taiwan, with all the competitors having now performed from most of the leading teams. 

The individual event does not finish today, but Hwang Youngshik of South Korea is the early leader, with an impressive total of 74.316.

Cricket in South Korea

17:03
A little more information on the development of cricket in South Korea...

Duncan Mackay"This is the last story today, we promise, about cricket in South Korea. The men's side who are taking part in Incheon 2014 have hired Englishman Julien Fountain as their coach. Fountain, who played at youth level for Somerset, got what, must be, one of the unlikeliest jobs in world sport when answered an advert he saw on the International Cricket Council website.

"Fountain, a 44-year-old who has been involved as a coach with Bangladesh, England, Pakistan and West Indies, is hoping that the fact many of his players started their sports careers as a baseball players will help them make the transition. A former baseball player himself, who represented Britain at the European Championships in 1989 and 1991 and had tryouts with MLB sides Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and New York Mets, he has long held the theory that the two sports are interchangeable.

South Korea's cricket team ©Twitter

"He recalled that theory the first time he saw his new Korean side play, as they used a series of baseball-style hits. 'The funny thing was that they made a lot of basic mistakes but they still posted 165 in 20 overs' he said. "And they even had 59 dot balls. Some of their shots were monstrous. They just kept hitting.

"The expectations for the South Koreans, placed alongside Malaysia and China in Group A are low-key. In the last couple of months, the Koreans toured Fiji, where they played 11 games and won four. They played Japan at the newly-built venue - Yeonhui Cricket Ground - the first and only dedicated cricket space in Korea and won all three games. 'We want to make it out of our group and play against one of the established teams,' said Fountain."
- Editor Duncan Mackay with yet another update about cricket in South Korea.

16:53
Action has got underway in the velodrome in track cycling, one of the few Olympic disciplines that was not showcased at Nanjing 2014. Medals to be won in the male and female team sprint competitions today, and both finals will be between China and South Korea. 

Japan will face Taiwan in the women's bronze medal match, where there are two cyclists on each team, while Japan will face Iran in the men's third place playoff.

Baseball Softball at Tokyo 2020?

16:42
 Speaking of Thomas Bach...

Quote marks"International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach is all in favor of bringing back men's baseball and women's softball as part of his 2020 Olympic Agenda. He's just not ready to say so, quite yet.

- Japanese news agency Kyodo News with a variation of the story they have been reporting for more than a year now.

Indian receives medal from IOC President 

16:34 Fresh from his Opening Address at the OCA General Assembly earlier, which we reported about here, IOC boss Thomas Bach presented Rai Jitu of India with his 50m pistol gold medal.

A particularly poignant moment considering Bach was responsible for lifting a 14-month ban on the Indian Olympic Association earlier this year, which had led to Indian athletes competing under the Olympic Flag at Sochi 2014. 

IOC President Thomas Bach presenting Rai Jitu of India with his pistol shooting medal ©AFP/Getty Images

Free condoms at Incheon 2014...

Duncan Mackay"It wouldn't be a major Games without a story about how many free condoms organisers are handing out. So, for the sake of everybody, let's get this out of the way early and then we can all move on, okay?
Apparently, South Korean officials have been handing out up to 5,000 condoms a day in the Athletes' Village, a remarkable figure when there is only 9,500 competitors here. The figure also represents a massive increase on the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, when a total of 8,500 were distributed during the whole Games.
It would suggest that the Village is full of sex-crazed athletes hopping in and out of each others' beds. But Choi Hyeung-Dae, one of the Incheon 2014 officials responsible for condom distribution, believes there is a more prosaic reason why the condoms, tastefully packaged in yellow, opaque wrappers with the Games emblem emblazoned on them, are proving so popular. "I think most of them just want to keep them as souvenirs," he said.
- An obligatory story about the distribution of condoms at the Asian Games from editor Duncan Mackay.

Mongolia showing good form on the mat

16:26 Getting into the business end of competition in judo this afternoon. And Mongolia, who are already represented on the medals table after some pistol shooting success earlier, are doing well again. They are represented in three of the four semi-finals, which have been decided already, although, remember, getting to the semi-finals doesn't guarantee you a medal a judo, due to the repechage system. 

Mongolia have won two gold medals in Olympic Games, both at Beijing 2008, with one of them coming in judo, courtesy of Naidangiin Tüvshinbayar, in the much heavier under 100kg division. 

OCA General Assembly still ongoing

16:17 The OCA General Assembly is still ongoing, so the press conference initially scheduled for 16:30 has been pushed back by at least half an hour, we are hearing.

The big news, as our breaking news icon illustrates, has been the awarding of the 2018 - not 2019 - Asian Games to Jakarta, which had been muted for a long time, but has now been officially confirmed.

Click here for our updated story on this

Gold for China in synchronised swimming

China en route to synchronised swimming glory ©AFP/Getty Images

Incheon 2014 gold medal16:07 Seven gold medals have been won so far today, and four of them have gone to China. Huang Xuechen and Sun Wenyan have taken the latest, in synchronised swimming, with a total score of 185.1851 to finish comfortably clear of Japan and Kazakhstan in the duet event. 

The competition may be missing Russian pairs that tend to dominate the sport, but this was still another top quality competition, to begin an Incheon 2014 aquatics programme that is probably the most anticipated across any sport. 

15:55: 2014, a vintage year for mascots?

The Incheon 2014 mascots Barame, Vichuon and Chumuro ©Incheon 2014

Duncan Mackay"So far, Barame, Vichuon, and Chumuro – the three spotted seals who are the mascots of Incheon 2014 – have kept a low profile. The seals , whose names mean wind, dance and light in the local language, were chosen as symbolic to the future peace between South Korea and North Korea, organisers claim.

"It has been a vintage year for Games mascots, what with The Polar Bear, The Hare and The Leopard at Sochi 2014, Clyde at Glasgow 2014 and Nanjinglele at Nanjing 2014. Then, of course, there was Cooly the pole vaulting cow at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, and Zhorik, the Siberian tiger at the World Judo Championships in Chelyabinsk.

"Perhaps the seals are feeling a bit intimidated but the only way they are going to be able to compete is to get out there and charm the public. Come on lads, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so raise your game. World peace could depend on you."
- Editor Duncan Mackay on the mascots of 2014.

He won't quite commit on his favourite mascot of the lot, although he admits to having a particular soft spot for Clyde. The insidethegames editor's favourite mascot of all time? Berlino the Bear, who featured at the 2009 World Athletics Championships, in Berlin of course...

Regional and Committee reports at the OCA General Assembly

15:46 Back at the OCA General Assembly, meanwhile, briefly, before we round-up what has been happening in a sporting sense over the last few minutes.

On the agenda in the latter part of the day are reports by all the OCA vice-presidents: Timothy Fok representing East Asia, Major General Charouck Arirachakran for Southeast Asia, Lieutenant General Syed Arif Hasan for South Asia, Temirkan Dosmukhambetov for Central Asia, and Sheikh Issa Bin Rashid Al-Khalifa for West Asia.

After that, reports from each of the OCA Standing Committees are being heard. There are 15 Committees, on topics ranging from finance, rules and international relations, to athletes', women and the media. 

Protests against Incheon 2014

15:38 There was a protest we reported about in Oslo yesterday on insidethegames, against the city's plans to bid for the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics. It appears protesters, specifically animal rights activists, are targeting Incheon 2014 to "end the appalling dog meat trade" in the host nation.

"I urge you today to please boycott the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and stand against the appalling and despicable cruelty committed against the millions of innocent dogs in South Korea every year," the activists said in the petition, which according to The Korean Times, has 73,000 signatures. "And now is the time for South Korea to start taking animal protection seriously."

The petition has apparently been sent to both the sponsors and organisers for these Games. 

Battles on the mat

15:30 We haven't had that much action on social media here so far, but could to see the Jordan Olympic Committee engaging. 

Twitter logo#HardLuck to Gaith AlSalman after Losing his match against #Saudi's Issa in #Judo 60kg category #LivingSportJO #JOC
- JOC tweet their condolences after a narrow defeat for Gaith Al Salman.

Jordan miss out to Saudi Arabia in judo ©JOC

Afternoon sporting action

15:23 Three out of four riders in every team has completed their dressage rides in the team competition, over at the delightfully named Dream Park Equestrian Venue. 

Japan are sitting in gold medal position at the moment, with China and Taiwan the closest challenges. There were plenty of Sino-Japanese rivalries at Nanjing 2014 and these two East Asian powerhouses, in a diplomatic as well as in a sporting sense, are going head to head once again already here. 

15:14 So North Korea have a sniff of a medal opportunity in synchronised swimming today. Yet they have a much greater chance in weightlifting later, where London 2012 Olympic champion, Om Yun-chol, will compete in the under 56kg competition. 

The 22-year-old, who also won world and Asian titles in 2013, will not have things all his own way however, with the Chinese squad, unsurprisingly, likely to offer a stern examination.

15:08 Away from combat disciplines to a more skill based one, the first medals in the pool will be won later on. But unusually for a major multi-sport event, it will be won in synchronised swimming rather than swimming, where action does not begin until tomorrow.

The duet free routine is just about to begin, but the technical routine has already concluded. Chinese pairing Huang Xuechen and Sun Wenyan currently lead the way, ahead of pairs from Japan and Kazakhstan, and then North Korea and then Uzbekistan. 

14:55 There are a large number of combat sport events taking place here at Nanjing 2014. As well as wushu and judo, there is boxing, karate, taekwondo and wrestling. And at the next Asian Games, which will now know will be held in Jakarta in 2018, sambo will also feature.

Wushu gold for Malaysia

Incheon 2014 gold medal14:42 Speaking of combat sports, a second gold medal has been won in wushu, and it is a first of the Games for Malaysia. Tai Cheau Xuen has claimed the women's nanquan event. Indonesia took both the minor medals, courtesy of Juwita Niza Wasni and Ivana Ardelia Irmanto.

Scroll down to 10:02 for an explanation of wushu.

14:35 Another sport just beginning is judo, with four sets of medals to be won today, in the two lightest and female categories. A good opportunity therein, you would think, for the first Japanese gold medal of the Games, maybe?

Royals at Incheon 2014

14:28 Back to the sport and, talking of equestrian (see 13:32), Thailand's team includes Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, granddaughter of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The 27-year-old has already competed at the Asian Games before, but in a different sport. She was a member of the Thai badminton team at the 2006 Games in Doha, where she spurned any special treatment by opting to stay in the Athletes' Village. Although she has ridden horses since childhood, Princess Sirivannavari only started competing seriously a few years ago, while she was studying fine arts and working as a fashion designer in Paris.

Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana seen here attending Paris Fashion Week earlier this year will be competing in dressage for Thailand at Incheon 2014 ©Getty Images

"She made the Thailand team for last year's South East Asian Games, where she finished 10th in individual dressage and fifth in the team event. "I prefer dressage because it's the foundation of equestrian sport and requires such a great deal of concentration," Princess Sirivannavari said.

"The rider and horse must develop a strong bond and be able to communicate with one another, more so than in any other equestrian regime. And, since I love art so much, I find dressage very elegant and beautiful. Every posture is marvellous, and the rider has to dress up too. I also like free style, in which the rider has to control the horse according to the rhythm of the music that's played."

"The name of her horse? What else, but Prince Charming, which is entirely appropriate for someone once voted as 16th on the list of the "20 Hottest Young Royals", compiled by Forbes magazine."

OCA General Assembly update

14:19 The last event we mentioned on that agenda, the Colombo 2017 Asian Youth Games, is particularly interesting because those Games were initially meant to be held in Hambantota, another Sri Lankan city.

After many delays and problems, it had been muted that the Games would be taken away from Sri Lanka completely. But, as we reported yesterday, the capital city is set to step in.

Thomas Bach and Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah among those on the top table of the OCA General Assembly ©AFP/Getty Images

14:10 There has been a lot going on over the last couple of hours over at the OCA General Assembly. We will bring you some more detailed coverage of this later, but I can tell you that there has an Olympic Solidarity Update by its director, Pere Miro, followed by a presentation on the Association of National Olympic Committees by its secretary general, Gunilla Lindberg.

The Organising Committees for Rio 2016 and Pyeongchang 2018 have also presented, along with similar Committees for many events within the Asian continent.

These include the Asian Beach Games taking place in Phuket in November, as well as 2016 edition being held in NhaTrang, Vietnam. Along with the Sapporo 2017 Asian Winter Games, the Ashgabat 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, and the Colombo 2017 Asian Youth Games. 

India on target in pistol shooting

13:58 But a great result for the Indian shooting team, particularly after the problems they had with registering for these Games - see our article yesterday on the criticisms launched by Beijing 2008 champion Abhinav Bindra - leading to them having less training time than they would have liked.

They are not the first sports team to overcome adversity to perform well, of course...

In fact, although their problem was not really related to equipment, it reminds me of a piece I wrote a few months ago: A broken laptop and how to deal with equipment failure in sport.

Incheon 2014 gold medal13:48 Jitu Rai of India takes gold in the 50m pistol shooting, the fourth and final gold medal to be won in the sport this morning. Hoang Phuong Nguyen of Vietnam came second while bronze went to Wang Zhiwei of China. 

So...only a bronze for the Chinese. That is almost a shock.

Afternoon sport on day one...

13:40 Coming up later on this afternoon, the duet final in synchronised swimming begins at 3pm, before the track cycling gets underway an hour later. The men and women's team sprint finals are headlining the opening day programme in the Velodrome. 

13:32 Speaking of events where we have countries doing well you don't normally associate with the sport, as we saw in cricket earlier, Japan are leading in the early(ish) stages of the team dressage competition. India lie second and Taiwan third, in an event that will finish later on today.

Crowds at the badminton?

13:20 Crowds at the Gyeyang Gymnasium, where badminton action is taking place, are embryonic of the general problems seen here so far on day one of competition (see 12:30). It is one of Asia's biggest sports, with Indonesia, China, Malaysia and hosts South Korea probably the world's four strongest nations.

But there are still lots of empty seats, as this picture shows...

Three rows of, almost, empty seats at the badminton at Incheon 2014 ©AFP/Getty Images



Cricket at Incheon 2014

13:13 If you are struggling to understand cricket, then this poem, attributed to the Marylebone Cricket Club and entitled Cricket Explained to a Foreigner, may help. Or maybe not...

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.
Each man that's in the side that's in the field goes out and when he's out comes in and the next man goes in until he's out.
When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in.
When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out. Sometimes there are men still in and not out.
There are men called umpires who stay out all the time, and they decide when the men who are in are out.
Depending on the weather and the light, the umpires can also send everybody in, no matter whether they're in or out.
When both sides have been in and all the men are out - including those who are not out - then the game is finished.

13:02
Entering a slightly quiet lunch-time period now. We are making the most of because there will not be too many quiet periods here in Incheon, with 439 sets of medals to be won. Cricket, incidentally, is one of the few sports which has a lunch, and tea break built into the game.

12:50
 More details on the cricket we brought you earlier (see 11:50) and the defeat of South Korea's women by eight wickets to China on what, it turns out, was their international debut. According to the International Cricket Council, apart from the female students on a training programme at Seoul Foreign School, there are no women cricket players in Korea. But the Korean Cricket Assocation is considering ways of attracting women into the game at university level.

"Since this is the first time [we have played at this level], we were very embarrassed," admitted South Korea's captain Oh In-young. "But I think this is a fresh, new challenge. The first, second and third batters should have stayed in the field at least for 15 minutes. But since this was the first time for us, they overswung. And we have been practicing on high bounce pitches, so it was hard for us to play on a low pitch field. We couldn't really make bouncers. But we got to know what we should do in the upcoming match with Hong Kong."

Where is everybody? 


12:30 The empty seats clearly visible at nearly every venue is set to become the early story of these Games, unfortunately. Even last night there were thousands of tickets on sale for the Opening Ceremony in the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium built at cost of $429 million (£263 million/€334 million) especially for these Games. Fortunately a late rush and the prospect of being able to see some of the biggest names in K-Pop, including Psy perform Gangam Style, ensured it was full.

It doesn't look like the same thing as it going to happen now the sport has started, however. Incheon officials have admitted that barely 18 per cent of tickets have been sold for the Games, which is due to run until October 4.

The city has since decided to report only ticket receipts, rather than numbers sold. A city spokeswoman, Yoo Ji-hyun, said last night that overall, the Games had reached 55 per cent of its KRW35 billion (£205 million/$335 million/€261 million) target. But she admitted that tens of thousands of tickets remain for the October 4 Closing Ceremony. Yoo admitted said that the number of seats sold was much lower than the sales targets, but claimed interest is growing and there is a "visible rise in ticket sales".

But Mayor Yoo Jeong-bok remains buoyant about the impact the Games will have on Incheon, even though the $2 billion (£1.2 billion/€1.5 billion) it has spent on it, including 17 building new sports facilities and constructing state-of-the-art infrastructure, including a metro line, means it is South Korea's most-indebted city.  "It's true our financial burden has increased due to the Asian Games," he said. "However, I believe it will raise the brand value of our city" and attract foreign investors."

Quote marks"I wasn't getting much love from the press, and I was determined to do my absolute best here. After the World Championships, I felt a bit of pressure to perform here but I decided I should try to enjoy it" - South Korea's women's 10m air pistol silver medallist Jung Jee-hae was beginning to feel a bit neglected

12:10
China's victory in the 10m air pistol team shooting (see 09:36) was the fourth consecutive Asian Games that they have claimed the opening gold medal. But there was an extra motivation this time because, Wang Yifu, head coach of the Chinese shooting team claimed, the South Korean organisers had deliberately placed the event first in anticipation of a home victory.

"The South Korean Organising Committee has purposely placed the first gold here because one of South Korea's athletes [Kim Jangmi] comes from Incheon, who is also the Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion," he said. "She performed very well, so it's hard for us to win this gold medal. The first gold of Asian Games attracts many attentions."

Not that Wang was prepared to go overboard about the victory of Guo Wenjun, Zhang Mengyuan and Zhou Qingyuan. "Compared with the just ended World Championship in Spain earlier this month, where they performed not so well, today's performances are relatively normal," he said. 

Guo Wenjun was part of China's team that won the women's 10m air pistol team shooting, the first gold medal of the 2014 Asian Games ©Getty Images


11:50
Here's a headline you never thought you would read: "China beats South Korea in women's cricket opener"...

The sport, traditionally associated with English village greens and cream teas, became a medal sport in Guangzhou four years ago. It was hoped that the introduction of the Twenty20 competition would help take the sport to new territories, with China a particular target. On that basis, the competition was judged a success. While the men's competition was won by Bangladesh and the women's Pakistan, the women's bronze medal playoff featured Japan and China. In surely one of the most unusual cricket matches of all time, it was Japan who beat China by seven wickets.

China's quest to go at least one better on this occasion seems to have got off to a good start then with an eight wicket victory over hosts South Korea. There are no easy games in international cricket. 

11:44
Early indications are that South Korea are again set to be China's closest rivals here. It is unlikely, however, that they will come as close to finishing ahead of them as they did when Seoul hosted the Asian Games in 1986.

On that occasion South Korea actually won more medals than China, 224 to 222, but finished behind them on virtue of the fact China won 94 golds to their 93. At Guangzhou 2010, when South Korea again finished second to China, that gap had stretched to China winning 199 gold medals in a total of 416 as South Korea claimed 76 in a total of 232. 

Incheon 2014 gold medal11:30 You could probably already place your house on China finishing top of the medals table at those Games in Jakarta in four years time. They have finished top on every occasion since Delhi 1982 and they are already opening up a big lead here, winning their third gold of the first morning. 

This time it came in the men's 50m pistol team event where they have finished ahead of South Korea and Vietnam. 

11:20
Jakarta will replace Hanoi as the hosts of the 2018 Asian Games after the Vietnamese had capital pulled out in April, citing economic problems. Read what we said at the time by clicking here

Jakarta awarded 2018 Asian Games

11:18 Following on from the news we teased at 11:02, the next Asian Games have now been officially awarded to Jakarta, and will be held in 2018, we can confirm.  

Twitter logo#ThomasBach addressing #OCA GA: "Cooperation between #IOC and OCA has never been closer than now" #olympics #Incheon
- Qatar Olympic Committee official Michel Filliau on Thomas Bach's speech.

Thomas Bach addressing the OCA General Assembly ©Twitter

11:10 With three events completed, have a look at our Incheon 2014 medals table. It can be found here. 

I don't expect China will budge from that number one position. Ever. 

11:02 In terms of the General Assembly, meanwhile, we've come away from that for the time being, but the morning programme there is continuing with the presentation by the Bidding Committee for the 18th Asian Games, from Jakarta, Indonesia.

That edition was due to be held in 2019, but we now understand it will take place in 2018 to avoid a clash with the Indonesian Presidential Elections. 

Indonesia's capital city is likely to be confirmed as host later on today, as we wrote a couple of days ago in this article...

10:55 Plenty of rowing action this morning as well, with squash and synchronised swimming other sports underway. More medal action to come this morning in shooting and wushu, and then the team dressage competition gets underway in an hour or so to open the equestrian competition.

Medals to be won there later on as well.

Zhang Mengyuan en route to 10m air pistol glory for China ©AFP/Getty Images

10:49 A bit of a surprise as Guo Wenjun, the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic champion who led after qualifying, has a poor final round and falls down to 5th place in that shooting final.

Two conclusions from that: firstly, the standard of competition here at the Asian Games is high, and secondly, China has an unbelievable conveyor belt of talent. One contender fails and another one steps forward and hits the target. Quite literally, in this case...

China gold medal machine already up and running

Incheon 2014 gold medal10:41 More gold medal success for China. Zhang Mengyuan wins the women's 10m air pistol, to add to her team gold earlier on today. Jung Jeehae takes silver for South Korea and a first medal for India with bronze for Shweta Chaudhry.

10:34 Very interesting words there by Thomas Bach. We all know that this is the case, but is that the first time an IOC President has specifically said that sport and politics should interact?

The case of North Korea last night, cheered when entering in a country with whom they are still officially at war, is surely a testament of the power of sport to help with political problems. The presence of Syria, Iraq and so many others here at Incheon 2014 is another good example of this. 

Incidentally, click here for our Opening Ceremony report and here for our photo gallery. 

10:25 Bach is followed by Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah who, lest we forget, is also an IOC member and the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees in addition to his OCA leadership role. 

He speaks warmly in praise of Bach, citing the fact that the German has so much experience in sport, the Olympic Movement, and in other fields, all of which is contributing to his success. Sheikh Ahmad was a strong supporter of Bach's campaign for the IOC Presidency, to replace Jacques Rogge, last year. 

10:20 Speaking of Thomas Bach, his Opening Address at the General Assembly has now finished, but in fairly triumphant fashion.

"He speaks of the importance of maintaining relations between the IOC and the world of politics. In the past, people have said sport is nothing to do with politics, or with money and business.

"This attitude is wrong and we cannot afford it anymore.

"We have to partner up with the politicians who are running this world. 

"But we need autonomy to ensure the functioning of worldwide sport. We must be politically neutral but realise that our decisions have political implications."

He adds that "this has been a theme of my first

About the author

Nick Butler Senior Reporter

Nick Butler

Since joining insidethegames.biz in 2013, Butler has travelled to a variety of major global sporting events, including the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games as well as the most recent editions of the Asian, European and Pan American Games in Incheon, Baku and Toronto. He has also attended the last four International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sessions and has particularly enjoyed tackling the politics and diplomacy of the Olympic Movement.


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