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Li Jiajun Brings China 1st Medal in Turin
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Chinese short track speed skater Li Jiajun delighted Chinese supporters in Turin with a stunning upset, winning a bronze medal in the men's 1500-meter race, China's first medal in this Winter Olympics.

Li Jiajun, silver medalist in this event at the Salt Lake City Games, took the bronze in 2:26.005, behind Ahn Hyun-Soo of South Korea who finished in 2:25.341, and his compatriot Lee Ho-Suk who finished in in 2:25.600.

31-year-old Li, competing in his fourth and final Olympics, admitted he had expended too much energy in the first two heats. But he says he will have no problem with the 500-meter and 1,000-meter races.

"I am happy to take the bronze. South Koreans are very strong in this distance. I will retire after the Turin Games, so what I want to do here is to stay relaxed and to do my best over the next few days." Li Said.

One of China's best short track speed skaters and nine times world champion, Li's achievements include four Olympic medals, and 16 world championship titles. Li became the first Chinese man to win the overall short track world title in 1999, repeating the feat in 2001.

In women's races, China's Wang Meng and Fu Tianyu have entered Wednesday's 500-meter short track race final and the Chinese women's team has qualified for the 3000-meter relay final.

After the second day of Olympic competition, the US, Germany, and Norway are the top three in the medals tally. China is now in 14th place with Li's win.

As for the third day's events, China hopes to win medals in three competitions: the pairs figure skating, men's 500-meter speed skating, and women's 15-kilometer biathlon. The figure skating event will be a real test for China because the leading Russian duo, Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin, have a nearly four-point advantage over Chinese favorites Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao.

22-year old Yu Fengtong is seeking his first gold medal in the 500-meter speed skating event.

(Xinhua News Agency and CRI February 13, 2006)

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