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China Slows Gold Rush

China has slowed its step to harvest medals at the ongoing Athens Olympic Games after a flying start in the first day of competition with four golds.

On the second day, China secured only one gold medal after female judoka Xian Dongmei claimed the 52kg title.

29-year-old Xian Dongmei won the final by pressing Japan's Yuki Yokosawa, bronze medallist in the 2003 world champions, to mat for more than 25 seconds.

Later, China's Wu Meijin lifted his first Olympic silver medal when he snatched 130kg and lifted 157.5 kg. Turkish weightlifter Halil Mutlu won the gold with a total of 295kg.

China's hopes of grabbing the third gold shooting events vanished after Ren Jie was edged out of the top three in women's 10 meter air pistol.

She was bumped out by Maria Grozdeva of Bulgaria in a shoot-out that decided the bronze-medallist.

Defending Olympic champion Tao Luna suffered an early exit in the qualifying round.

Later, the Chinese men's basketball team, who are aiming to finish within top eight in Athens, suffered a humiliating 83-58 loss to a much stronger Spanish team in the opener.

Chinese NBA star Yao Ming contributed 12 points and had eight rebounds but fouled out with about four minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

China will take on their second group opponents New Zealand on Tuesday.

So far, China leads the medal table with five golds, two silvers and one bronze.

(CRI online August 15, 2004)

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