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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: Regional Highlights at Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympics Athletics
David J. Phillip/AP
Su Bingtian, of China, right, wins a men's 100-meter semifinal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

If you’re keeping track of the Summer Olympics this year, you may be following the U.S. teams in sports from women’s gymnastics to men’s basketball. But elsewhere in the world, the headlines are very different — and that includes the Asia Pacific.

Success can be relative, even at the Olympics.

Chinese sprinter Su Bingtian came in sixth place in the 100-meter competition, a finish many are celebrating as a historic achievement.

It’s the first time a Chinese athlete reached the men’s 100-meter final, after setting a new Asian record in the semifinal heat.

One regional columnist wrote, “So crazy it is to feel, at least for a brilliant, beautiful while, that a 100-meter Olympic champion, or medalist, can come from Asia. Who cares that he came in sixth in the final, he makes us believe.”

India is believing in its hockey teams — you might call it “field hockey,” but in Asia that adjective is not needed.

India’s women’s hockey team upset Australia, reaching the semifinals for the first time ever — or, as the Times of India put it, “Indian Women Create History.”

The men’s team also reached the semifinals.

Indonesia’s women’s doubles badminton won a gold medal on Monday, the country’s first in this Olympics and as one headline put it: “Indonesia Breaks Chinese Stranglehold in Badminton Women’s Doubles.”

And it’s not just the athletes — the Straits Times carried a story highlighting an Olympic moment for Singaporean referees working in Tokyo in sports from hockey and soccer to table tennis and taekwondo.

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