Asian Games: China tops the medal table for 8th straight Asian Games

It’s all over at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang (INA), with China once again on top of the medal table, for the eighth straight edition.

But the Chinese were not quite as dominant as in recent games, as Japan’s push for the 2020 Olympic Games is paying dividends:

∙ 2018: 1. China, 289 2. Japan, 205 3. South Korea, 177
∙ 2014: 1. China, 345 2. South Korea, 228 3. Japan, 200
∙ 2010: 1. China, 416 2. South Korea, 232 3. Japan, 216
∙ 2006: 1. China, 316 2. Japan, 200 3. South Korea, 193
∙ 2002: 1. China, 308 2. South Korea, 260 3. Japan, 189

As to the individual sports, it’s worth noting that China once again finished 1-2 in all four individual diving events for the seventh straight Asian Games. That’s amazing.

In terms of the medal count in Indonesia, China’s 289 total included a Games-high 132 golds, 92 silvers and 65 bronzes. Japan had 75 golds, 56 silvers and a Games-high 74 bronzes. After Korea’s 177 total for third, host Indonesia had a great Games with 98 total medals (31-24-43), many of which in smaller sports which it asked to have included. Nine sports were being held for the first time – bridge, jetski, ju-jitsu, kurash, paragliding, pencak silat, sambo, skateboarding and sport climbing – and Indonesia won 20 of the available 61 golds in these sports.

The big individual medal winner was Japan’s 18-year-old women’s swim star Rikako Ikee, who won eight total medals – equal to the most in Asian Games history by North Korean shooter Gin Man So in 1982 – including a Games-best six golds (6-2-0). Next was China’s distance swim star, Yang Sun (6: 4-2-0) and then two swimmers who had five medals each: Jiayu Xu (CHN: 5-0-0) and Ryosuke Irie (JPN: 0-5-0).

Ikee was named “Most Valuable Player” of the Games by the Olympic Council of Asia and returned to Jakarta from Japan to receive the trophy and a $50,000 prize at the Main Press Center prior to the Closing Ceremony. She’s the first woman to receive the award, which was first presented in 1998.

After two excellent weeks of weather, it rained at the closing, but OCA chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah (KUW) told the attendees, “It is raining because we are very sad today that we must leave your beautiful country.”

Indonesia’s president, Jojo Widodo, was sufficiently impressed by the Games hosting effort that, after a meeting with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, he issued a statement announcing, “Indonesia has planned to immediately register itself as a candidate for the 2032 Olympics host..

“With our experience in hosting the 18th Asian Games, I believe Indonesia will be able to host (an) event at larger scale.”