An Chang-ok, centre, and Kim Son-hyang, left, brandish the North Korean flag on the podium in Hangzhou ©Getty Images

North Korea’s flag continues to fly at the Asian Games here contrary to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) sanctions as they claimed their first gold medals of the event.

Shooters Paek Ok-sim, Pang Myong-hyang and Ri Ji-ye were first to secure gold for North Korea at Hangzhou 2022 when they triumphed in the women’s team 10 metre running target final.

They registered a winning score of 1,655 points to overcome Kazakhstan and Indonesia who scored 1,642 and 1,604, respectively to complete the top three.

An Chang-ok then starred for North Korea, capturing two artistic gymnastics golds at the Huanglong Sports Centre Gymnasium.

The 20-year-old topped a North Korea one-two in the women’s vault final, beating Kim Son-hyang after becoming the only gymnast to break the 14-point barrier.

Her second gold came in the women’s uneven bars competition where she scored 14.266 to secure the title.

North Korea’s flag was hoisted on three occasions as An and the shooting trio of Paek, Pang and Ri received their gold medals.

An Chang-ok produced a stunning showing in the women's uneven bars final to secure the second of her two golds ©Getty Images
An Chang-ok produced a stunning showing in the women's uneven bars final to secure the second of her two golds ©Getty Images

But the presence of the flag at the Games goes against WADA’s ruling having declared the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Anti-Doping Committee (DPRK ADC) non-compliant in October 2021.

As a consequence, North Korea’s national flag cannot be flown at major sporting events other than the Olympic and Paralympic Games for as long as the DPRK ADC is non-compliant.

WADA has urged the Olympic Council of Asia to ditch the North Korean flag or risk "compliance proceedings" against them.

The Asian Games marks North Korea’s first outing at a major multi-sport event since the last Asian Games at Jakarta Palembang 2018 after opting to skip the the delayed Olympics in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Korea was banned by the International Olympic Committee from  last year's Winter Olympics in Beijing for failing to take part at Tokyo 2020 before the suspension was lifted at the end of last year.

As well as An’s artistic gymnastics double for North Korea, there was also success for South Korea, Chinese Taipei and China.

Zhang Boheng was hotly tipped to deliver more joy for China after winning the men’s all-around title, but he finished runner-up to South Korea’s Han-sol in the men’s floor exercise final before faltering on the pommel horse.

Olympic silver medallist Lee Chih-kai of Chinese Taipei defending his men’s pommel horse crown with a score of 15.500 points.

It had been an underwhelming showing from the Chinese artistic gymnastics team until Lan Xingyu claimed men’s rings gold after registering 15.433 points.

Zhang Yufei has won five gold medals at Hangzhou 2022 after winning the women’s 50m freestyle title ©Getty Images
Zhang Yufei has won five gold medals at Hangzhou 2022 after winning the women’s 50m freestyle title ©Getty Images

There were no gold medals for the hosts in shooting as they were defeated by India in the men’s team 10m air pistol final.

Kazakhstan struck twice as they secured the mixed team skeet gold before Zukhra Irnazarova overcame the North Korean challenge of Ri, Paek and Pang to seal women’s running target gold with an Asian Games record score of 560 points.

Phạm Quang Huy of Vietnam was the other gold medallist, claiming the first title of the day in the men’s 10m air pistol final after finishing on 240.5.

China’s dominance in the pool continued, winning five out of the seven swimming titles on offer at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Aquatic Sports Arena.

Zhang Yufei won her fifth gold of the Games with victory in the women’s 50m freestyle final, beating Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey in a much-anticipated battle with an Asian Games record time of 24.26sec.

Reigning world champion Qin Haiyang broke his own Games record twice in a day to win men’s 200m breaststroke gold in 2min 07.03sec.

Ye Shiwen powered to the women’s 200m breaststroke title before China secured both the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay and women’s 4x200m freestyle relay crowns.

South Korea won the other two swimming golds in Asian Games records as Baek In-chul lowered the mark again with 23.29 in the men’s 50m butterfly final before Kim Woo-min clinched the men’s 800m freestyle title.

Kaiya Ota, left, delivered more track cycling success for Japan ©Getty Images
Kaiya Ota, left, delivered more track cycling success for Japan ©Getty Images

Like swimming, China also earned five golds in wushu, with victories for Li Yueyao in the women’s 52 kilogram category, Wu Xiaowei in the women’s 60kg division, Jiang Haidong in the men’s 56kg class, Wang Xuetao in the men’s 60kg event and He Feng in the men’s 70kg competition.

Iranian athletes often came on the receiving end of final defeats to Chinese opponents but their persistence paid off with two golds.

Afshin Salimi Toupghara beat Indonesia’s Samuel Margun to win the men’s 65kg title before Yousef Sabriabibegloo another ensured gold for his country with a win over Macao’s Cai Feilong in the men’s 75kg final.

China and South Korea battled it out in both fencing finals at the Hangzhou Dianzi University Gymnasium Final Piste.

South Korea won the first of those tussle, triumphing 45-33 to take the men’s team sabre title before China edged the women’s team foil final 34-31.

There was double delight for China in taekwondo, with Zhou Zeqi coming from behind to defeat South Korea’s Lee Da-bin 8-9, 9-2 to seal women’s over-67kg gold, 21-8 before Song Zhaoxiang beat Iran’s Arian Salimi 17-11, 13-19, 21-15 in the men’s over-80kg final.

Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Haohung stunned home favourite Ke Jie with a dominant 2-0 victory in the best-of-three battle of the men’s individual gold-medal match.

Japan claimed another track cycling hat-trick of gold medals as they won the women’s madison final before Kaiya Ota and Kazushige Kuboki lifted the respective men’s sprint and men’s omnium titles.

Cherif Samba and Amed Janko of Qatar retained the men’s beach volleyball crown with a 22-20, 21-16 win over China's Mutailipu Abuduhalikejiang and Wu Jiaxin.

Malaysia’s Bin Mahamad Fathil Mohd Qabil Ambak, appearing in his fifth Asian Games, pipped Jacquline Siu to individual intermediate dressage freestyle gold.

South Korean esports player Kim Gwan-woo beat Hsiang Yu-Lin of Chinese Taipei to finish top of the Street Fighter V: Champion Edition standings.