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Du Li Wins 1st Gold Medal at Athens

China's Du Li clinched the first gold medal of the Athens Olympics after she won the women's 10m air rifle event on Saturday.


The 22-year-old outscored a host of elite markswomen, including compatriot Zhao Yinghui, world number one Lioubov Galkina of Russia and world and European champion Katerina Kurkova of the Czech Republic, winning with an Olympic record score of 502.0 points.


Du, who is competing in her first Olympics, entered the 10-shot final with 398 points on joint second places along with Zhao and Kurkova. She was edged into fifth place after opening the final with a 9.4.


The girl then maintained her composure and rejoined the title race with a 10.6 and 10.8.  But she didn't overtake all-time leader Galkina until the last shot, firing a 10.6 against the Russian's 9.7.


Galkina, who led by a full point into the final with 399 points, had to settle for the silver with a total of 501.5 points.  Kurkova claimed the bronze medal with 501.1 points.


Zhao, a title favorite before the Games, only finished a disappointing fourth on 500.8 points. 


Factbox: Olympic first gold winner Du Li


Birthday: May 3, 1982


Birthplace: Shandong Province, East China


Height: 170cm


Weight: 55kg


Coach: Wang Yuefang


Career: 2002 world champion, 2003 World Cup winner and word record holder


(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2004)



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