Chinese Xing Huina said here on Friday that she felt very surprised after winning the women's 10,000m at the 28th Olympic Games.
"It's a surprise of all the surprises," she said. "I never expected that it can happen."
Xing, who finished a disappointed ninth in the 5,000m earlier, said that "I felt devastated after the 5,000m because I was stronger in that event and the 10,000m is always my weak point."
"But with nothing to lose, I was very relaxed before the race and just wanted to do my best, like running in a training session," she said.
"At the beginning, I followed leaders. With five laps to go, Ifelt that I could win a medal. With one lap left, I suddenly found that I could even win the gold," the 22-year-old Xing said.
Xing, who was born in east China's Shandong Province, said she had made rapid progresses after joining coach Wang Dexian's camp and training with world bronze medalist Sun Yingjie last year.
Sun finished a distant 5th in the 10,000.
Xing's gold was the second for the Chinese women in the Olympic track event. Wang Junxia, who holds the world record, took the 5,000m gold medal in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
"Wang is my idol," Xing said. "I heard her name when I was a child. I later knew that she won the Olympic gold at the age of 24."
"And my dream is to win a medal at the Olympics around 24 yearsold just like Wang," Xing said, "but I made it at 22. It's a dream come true in advance."
"My original plan was to have a chance to run in the Athens Olympics, and then get a medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing," she said.
"I have worked very hard in the past few years, and now all that has been paid off," she said.
The Chinese women, who dominated the middle and long distance running in early 1990s, have not won a medal in the 2000 Olympics and in the last five World Championships.
And now, Xing said she believed that China can do better in the2008 Beijing Games.
"It's every athlete's dream of winning a gold medal on home soil. And four years later in Beijing, I hope to do better. But you must work harder for that and four years is a long time. I hope to do that. For China I believe that they can do much betterthan the two golds they won here."
(Xinhua News Agency August 28, 2004)