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Saturday, December 12, 1998 Published at 15:14 GMT


Iran find late form

Police attempt to control Thai fans

Favourites Iran stormed back from a humiliating defeat to win a place in the quarter-finals of the Asian Games soccer tournament on Saturday while hosts Thailand squeaked through despite losing.

A shock 3-0 victory by previously pointless Lebanon over Kazakhstan, apparent certainties to go through after a win and a draw in their second round Group 4 games, meant Thailand's passionate fans were in the end able to celebrate the home side's 2-1 defeat by Qatar.

Thailand scraped through thanks to a superior goal difference over Kazakhstan.

The Thais now have to play the powerful South Koreans in Monday's knockout quarter-finals.

Japan top the table

Japan replaced China as Asian Games swim champions on Saturday in a stunning turnaround in form from the drug-marred Games of 1994.

Japan ended the six days of competition with 15 gold medals to China's 13, setting off wild celebrations by Japanese fans at the pool - once a games computer error was corrected.

The Games organisers official results service initially said the two nations ended tied on 13 golds, which would have meant China retained its title because of more silver medals.

However, after frantic inquiries by the media, the result was changed.

"We apologise. The computer didn't update," a Games official said. "The problem was in the lines."

Japan have not topped China in the pool at the Asian Games since the 1986 Games in Seoul.

Boxing controversy

Controversy erupted at the Asian Games boxing tournament on Saturday when North Korean Kwang-Sik Ri refused to leave the ring after he lost on points to Timur Tulyakov of Uzbekistan in a bantamweight quarter-final.

North Korean officials were outraged at the decision but said they would not appeal in case it jeopardised the chances of their only fighter left in the competition, Pek Yong-Chol, a lightweight due to fight his quarter-final on Monday.

Appalled at having lost the fight, Ri at first fell to his knees before walking around to the other side of the ring and sitting on the ropes.

He only left the ring at the insistence of his coach when the fighters for the following quarter-final arrived.

Ri then broke free of his coach and team-mates trying to restrain the distraught boxer and wandered over to where ringside officials were sitting, throwing his arms in the air in frustration.

Gymnastic domination

China continued its domination of the Asian Games gymnasium on Saturday with their 13th gold medal, this time in the women's team rhythmic gymnastics.

But unlike their artistic gymnasts, who scooped all but two medals in the men's and women's events earlier in the week, the Chinese rhythmic team of four were no match for the best in the world, one judge said.

Elegant performances in all four categories - the rope, hoop, clubs and ribbon - earned the team high praise from judges and spectators.

The winning foursome, Zhou Xiaojing, Pu Yunfei, Wang Weixiao and Dong Weihua, won with a total of 94.386 points.

The silver medal went to Japan with 93.737 and the bronze to South Korea with 92.437.

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