11/10/2008, 00.00
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Nepal, Chinese triumph in Asian mountain bike championship

by Kalpit Parajuli
In the cross-country specialty, all of the winners in the women's races are Chinese: the gold medal has gone to the athlete who came in fourth in the Beijing Olympics. Among the men, victory for two-time Asian champion Jiang Xue Li. Poor results for the host country: only one Nepalese athlete reached the finish, 17th out of 30.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The Chinese cyclists have piled up the medals in the Asian mountain bike championship, held Saturday and Sunday, November 8-9, in Chobhar, 15 kilometers northeast of Kathmandu. In the competition, the first in Nepal's history, 66 athletes participated from 13 countries across Asia. The two races were the cross-country (on a course of 5.09 kilometers) and the downhill (1.2 kilometers).

The Chinese athlete Ren Chengyuan (in the photo), who came in fourth in the Beijing Olympics, won the cross-country competition, while two-time Asian champion Jiang Xue Li outclassed the competition to win the men's race. All of the winners in the women's race were Chinese: second and third place went to Liu Ying and Shi Qinglan. Among the men, Japan's Yamamoto Kohel came in before Chan Chun Hing, of the sporting federation of Hong Kong.

"I am satisfied with my team`s performance as they put a brilliant show today," says Chinese team manager Peng Haibo. "I don`t want to comment about the men cyclists but for women our team is stronger than any other team here."

The Asian championship brought to Chobhar, the mountain site closest to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, hundreds of cycling fans and a crowd of curious people who followed the races attentively: "The crowd was excellent," says Jiang Xue Li, winner of the men's cross-country race.

But there were poor results for the athletes of Nepal, many of whom did not even reach the finish line. The only one to complete the course was Padam Limbu, who came in 17th out of 30. "My position was hampered as I encountered a technical problem in the fourth lap," says the Nepalese cyclist, "but I am happy I completed the race and got a chance to compete with Asia`s best cyclists."

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