Doping set to hit Asian Games in Guangzhou

The Asian Games looked set to be hit with its first doping case today after officials scheduled a late afternoon media conference to discuss unsourced reports of an athlete testing positive for drugs.

Chinese news agency Xinhua first reported the case, but did not publish details.

A member of the World Anti-Doping Agency group observing the doping controls at the games was expected to attend the news conference.

Competition began last Saturday at the games and continues through November 27. There are more than 10?000 athletes competing in 42 sports in Guangzhou.

On the seventh day of competition, Nida Rashid scored an unbeaten 51 and took four wickets for 16 runs to lead Pakistan to the first-ever cricket gold medal awarded at the Asian Games with a 10-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the women’s Twenty20 final.

After being sent into bat, Bangladesh was bowled out for 92 in 20 overs. It was Pakistan’s first gold at Guangzhou, after collecting silver in wushu and a bronze in snooker.

Earlier, Japan defeated China by seven wickets to clinch bronze. The men’s competition starts on the weekend.

Haeider Hamarasheid, who does his training in a river due to the lack of a rowing basin in Iraq, earlier gave his country its first medal of the games, taking a bronze in the men’s single sculls.

The race was won by Bajrang Lal Takhar, who gave India its second gold of the games. China took the featured men’s eights while Eri Wakai of Japan won the women’s lightweight single sculls on the final day of rowing competition.

Hamarasheid, one of five Iraqi rowers at the Asian Games, said when he told his friends two years ago that he would one day compete at the Olympics in rowing, they weren’t sure whether to believe him.

“They were very surprised that there was such a sport in Iraq,” Hamarasheid said. “The bronze medal has come at a good time, I will be in the newspaper and on the TV back home. People will start to know me and more importantly, start to know about rowing.”

He said he trained twice a day in the river and had a good support team.

“I have to thank my team-mates and coach. We are like a family. When I train late, they wait for me,” he said. “When they train late, I wait for them.”

Belgian-based Steven Wong won the BMX cycling gold for Hong Kong in a time of 30.37 seconds, about a second ahead of the minor medallists from Japan, Akifumi Sakamoto and Masahiro Sampei. Ma Liyun won the women’s race.

“It’s not an easy track,” Wong said of today’s race. “When I sprinted in the last section of the lap, I almost fell down.”

Wong said he’ll compete at the 2012 London Olympics.

“Yes, I will,” he said. “Since I’ve won so many big events, such as the Asian Cup, it’s time for me to move on.”

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