Table-tennis: China take two more golds on final day to break 150-mark

INCHEON South Korea - China won two more table tennis gold medals at the Asian Games on Saturday, pushing their overall tally to 151 for the multi-sports event, while hosts South Korea finished runners-up for a fifth straight Games ahead of Japan in third.

The South Koreans earned 79 golds in total, 11 shy of their pre-Games target, while Japan ended on 47 and were some way short of displacing the hosts as the next best in Asia.

A strong performance in boxing and canoeing helped Kazakhstan to fourth place (28 golds) ahead of Iran (21) and Thailand (12).

North Korea, whose participation in the 17th Asiad was in doubt just a few months before the opening ceremony, finished in seventh place with 11 gold medals, their best performance since finishing fourth in 1990 with 12 golds.

The backbone of the North's success was their impressive weightlifters, who won four golds and broke five world records.

On the final day of competition, Xu Xin won men's singles gold and compatriot Liu Shiwen the women's crown as China scooped six of the seven table tennis titles at the Sept. 19 to Oct. 4 Games.

North Korea's mixed doubles team put paid to their chances of a clean sweep by beating them in the quarter-finals earlier in the week.

China's overall gold medal haul of 151 is down sharply from the 199 they won at the last Games in Guangzhou, though there were 37 fewer golds to be won in Incheon.

China have finished top of the medal standings at every Games since the 1982 Asiad and the president of the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, said the Chinese dominance would spur its rivals on to become more competitive.

"The top five nations of the Asian Games medal tally are in the top 20 at the Olympics, which means Asia can meet the international standards," he told a news conference.

"Whoever deserves it will get a medal. I think China's good efforts will encourage athletes from other countries to work harder."

South Korea also took two gold medals on the final day, winning both soft tennis team titles, while Japan, Kuwait and Taiwan rounded off the karate titles.

Taiwan's Ku Tsui Ping won the last gold medal of the Games, beating Kazakh Yekaterina Khupovets in the final of the women's -50kg karate kumite competition.