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Saturday, April 27, 2019, 12:21
China challenges Japan's domination at Asian Wrestling Champs
By Xinhua
Saturday, April 27, 2019, 12:21 By Xinhua

From left to right: Silver medallist Jong Myong-suk of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, gold medallist Rong Ningning of China and bronze medallists Tserenchimed Sukhee of Mongolia and Kaori Icho of Japan pose on the podium after the final of the women's freestyle 57kg wrestling competition at the 2019 Wrestling Senior Asian Championships in Xian in China's northern Shaanxi province on April 26, 2019. (STR / AFP)

XI'AN - Chinese wrestlers Rong Ningning and Luo Xiaojuan won two golds on Friday at the Asian Championships, which was held at Xi'an, China's northern Shaanxi province from April 23 to 28.

I want to thank the audience and my teammates, their sounds encouraged me to turn the tables in the final. Icho is a great wrestler, I want to compete with her in the 2020 Olympics

Rong Ningning, Chinese wrestler

The two gold medalists helped China hold a 4-4 draw in the individual gold competition against the Asian women's wrestling powerhouse Japan.

Prior to the competition, Japanese wrestling legend Icho Kaori said she regarded it as a measure of the current level in Asia. The four-Olympic-gold-owner retired in 2016 has yet to decide whether she is going to fight for her fifth Olympic title in Japan in 2020.

The 34-year-old Japanese wrestler suffered a setback today, losing to Democratic People's Republic of Korea 57-kg player Jong Myong-suk 7-4 in the semis.

Rong, Chinese newly-promoted world champion of the weight, almost failed to enter the last four. Rong edged Mongolia's Tserenchimed Sukhee 4-3 and then defeated India's Pooja Dhanda, earning a position on the podium.

At the 65kg qualification round, the host wrestler Luo smashed her first two rivals by consecutive rolling bridges and an early takedown, meaning that two of China's five wrestlers in action make it to the gold medal matches.

Jong led Rong 2-0 in the first period of the final, but the DPRK player held a solid defense in the second period which stopped Rong from scoring.

Rong caught Jong's leg with 10 seconds remaining on the clock and gave Jong a takedown, claiming the Asian title and throwing the crowds into a frenzy.

"I want to thank the audience and my teammates, their sounds encouraged me to turn the tables in the final," Rong said. "Icho is a great wrestler, I want to compete with her in the 2020 Olympics."

In the 65-kg final, Japan's Ruike Naomi almost turned the table in the second period against China's Luo. The 2017 Chinese National Games finalist attacked with great determination, giving Ruike a late takedown and defeating her 3-0.

China and Japan got four golds each in the women's wrestling events that ran until Friday. Japan remained the bellwether on the team standings, while China narrowed the gap for the silver. 

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