Thailand win maiden Games eSports medal as Japan get one over China

HANGZHOU: Thailand made a piece of Asian Games history when they won the first medal ever in eSports as China's gold rush momentarily came off the tracks in cycling on Tuesday.

Gaming is making its debut as a medal event in Hangzhou, seen as a major step towards Olympic status, with renowned eSports players such as South Korea's Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok in action.

Medals are up for grabs in seven titles, including League of Legends and EA Sports FC Online.

Arena of Valor is the first gold on the line at the futuristic and packed Hangzhou Esports Centre, with China and Malaysia fighting it out in the final later Tuesday.

Before that, Thailand beat Vietnam to win the maiden bronze medal and Thai coach Ongsa Arun, known as "KingSauce", was ecstatic.

"I'm really, really happy. It's a new experience," he said.

Underlining just how popular it is, eSports is the only Asiad competition where tickets were allocated through an initial online lottery.

Hosts China added yet more golds to their burgeoning Hangzhou collection to boast 47 in total, way ahead of South Korea (13), Japan (six) and Uzbekistan (five).

Their all-powerful table tennis squad swept past Japan 3-0 in the women's team final.

But China were dethroned by Japan in the men's team sprint final at the Chun'an Jieshou Sports Centre Velodrome on the first day of action on the cycling track.

Japanese rider Yoshitaku Nagasako said his team thrived on the partisan crowd.

"When I heard 'China' I just thought 'Japan. So the crowd was amazing," he said.

"I'm really proud to win this one."

China's women made no mistake in their team sprint final, beating South Korea.

All the early titles and tension on day three came on the shooting range.

Muhammad Sejahtera Putra topped the podium for Indonesia in the 10m running target mixed run, ahead of North Korea's Kwon Kwan Gil and South Korea's Jeong You-jin.

It was the 26-year-old's second gold of the Games. - AFP

In other action, Hong Kong retained their rugby sevens title when they beat South Korea 14-7 in the final, as hosts China won the women's gold. - AFP

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