By Nick Butler at the Main Press Centre in Incheon

Mohsen Shadinaghadeh of Iran celebrates a nail-biting single sculls rowing victory ©Getty ImagesIranian athletes enjoyed two brilliant victories here on day six of the Asian Games, a surprising single sculls rowing triumph followed by a cycling victory absolutely no one could have predicted by a rider ranked 235th in the world.

First, Mohsen Shadinaghadeh got the better of home hope Kim Dong-yong to win the showpiece men's single sculls in a final that proved the closest and most exciting of the entire rowing programme.

Eventual bronze medal winner Sawarn Singh of India held the lead after 500 metres of the two kilometre contest, before the two pre-event favourites took over by halfway, visibly upping their respective stroke rates.

Neck-and-neck they continued and, at one point, Kim was in front before Shadinaghadeh, who four years ago in Guangzhou won Iran's first ever Asian Games rowing title in the lightweight single sculls before graduating to the heavier category, edged clear in thrilling fashion.

He crossed the line first in 7min 05.66sec, while Kim finished less than a second behind in 7:06.17.

This excitement was nothing to what followed on the final day of action in the 333m outdoor track at the Incheon International Velodrome, in a keirin final that lived up to the billing as an event renowned for its unpredictability and ferociousness.

The race was meant to pit Kazunari Watanabe of Japan against Malaysian pair Josiah Ng and Azizulhasni Awang, but it was Mohammad Daneshvarkhourram, a 20-year-old nobody in his first major international event, who crossed the line first in a photo-finish.

Mohammad Daneshvarkhourram of Iran (left) emerges from nowhere to win the men's keirin ©AFP/Getty ImagesMohammad Daneshvarkhourram of Iran (left) emerges from nowhere to win the men's keirin
©AFP/Getty Images

"This is the biggest race in which I have participated," admitted the champion afterwards.

"It is the first race of this level that I have ridden, because of that I am so happy to take the gold medal."

"I tried so hard because it was a very important race."

Watanabe took silver and Ng the bronze, after his compatriot Awang was disqualified for veering dangerously outside the sprinters lane.

The Iranian victories were made all the more exciting because they were such a glorious exception to the Chinese dominance seen elsewhere, with the nation securing nine of the 14 total events on offer in rowing, as well as nine track cycling medals, three of which were gold.

They also took a staggering eight of the 10 events contested today in shooting, as well as three events in swimming, two in gymnastics and one each in fencing and weightlifting.

One rare blow came in the heats of the 4x100m medley relay, when China were disqualified after butterfly swimmer Lu Ying illegally stayed underwater for longer than the permitted 15m, leaving Japan to dominate the final.

There was Chinese disappointment in the heats of the 4x100m medley relay, but not in much else ©AFP/Getty ImagesThere was Chinese disappointment in the 4x100m medley relay, but not in much else ©AFP/Getty Images

They also lost to Japan in team foil fencing, while another one that got away came in shooting, where Qatar won their first medal of any colour with a nail-biting double trap title, after they, the Chinese runners-up and the bronze medallists from Kuwait, all finished tied on 404 points.

On a day when their women's team officially withdrew in protest at the ban on them wearing hijabs during play, there was also a good moment for the Arab nation in basketball when their men's team overcame Japan 58-56.

Their men's handball team beat Bahrain 28-19 to put themselves on the cusp of the semi-finals.

Elsewhere, there was another world record-breaking victory in weightlifting to report for North Korea, as Kim Un-ju set a new best in the clean and jerk before registering an Asian Games overall record to take the fourth gold of the Games in the sport for her country.

After a strong evening, which included three wins in the pool, amid two 1-2 finishes in triathlon and further triumphs in cycling and gymnastics as well as fencing, Japan pulled ahead of host nation South Korea on the medals table by virtue of having three extra silver medals.

Both nations are tied on 28 golds apiece. 

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