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Universiade: Harvest Day for US, China

It was a harvest day for the United States and China on Sunday when the sports powerhouses pocketed four and three gold medals respectively at the 23rd Universiade being held in the beautiful resort city of Izmir in Turkey.

The American swimmers claimed two titles in the men's 200m individual medley and the women's freestyle relay while Nathan Gallick and Thomas Rowlands contributed two more golds in the men's 60kg and 96kg freestyle wrestling to help the United States overtake the lead from Poland on the medal table.

American Eric Shanteau won the men's 200m medley with a Universiade record time of 2:00.13. Vytautas Janusaitis of Lithuania finished second in 2:00.98 and Chinese Zhao Tao, rookie in the University Games, was third at 2:01.29.

Later on Sunday, the American women's team lorded over the 4X200m freestyle relay at 8:05.92, edging New Zealand into second place at 8:09.09. The bronze medal went to France at 8:09.50.

Chinese Qi Hui, world champion (short-course) in the women's 200m breaststroke, bagged a bronze medal in the same discipline, clocking 2:27.94. Japanese Megumi Taneda took the gold medal at 2:27.81, and Rebecca Soni of the United States finished runner-up at 2:27.84.

"I'm feeling good and to swim within 2:18 is tolerable," the 20-year-old said, "My opponent has raised her personal best." As Qi said, the champion Megumi Taneda has bettered her personal best by about one second. "But I'm gonna take my chance in tomorrow's 400m individual medley," Qi added.

In the women's 400m freestyle, Romanian Camelia Potec touched home first at 4:10.88, followed by Briton Becky Cooke at 4:12.11 and Canadian Chanelle Charron-Watson at 4:13.27. Another new Universiade record came in the men's 50m backstroke with Briton Liam Tancock timing in 25.50 for the gold. Min Sung of South Korea finished runner-up at 25.59, and American Matthew Grevers came third at 25.61.

Top honor of the men's 100m breaststroke went to Oleg Lisogor of Ukraine at 1:00.73. Kevin Swander of the United States ranked second at 1:01.74 while Japanese Makoto Yamashita took away bronze at 1:01.79. In the remaining men's 100m freestyle, Russia led a 1-2 finish through Evgeny Lagunov and Andrey Kapralov, at 49.52 and 49.70. Italian Alessandro Calvi clocked in 49.90, securing a bronze.

Olympic champion Wu Minxia smiled with her teammates under the scorching sun after snatching the second gold for the Chinese "dream team" on the opening day of the diving competition at the Izmir Universiade.

Dominating the event from the first jump, Wu collect 289.68 points to clinch the gold of the women's one-meter springboard, while her compatriots Peng Bo/Wang Kenan won the first for the "dream team" from the men's three-meter springboard synchronized.

Fedorova Olena of Ukraine made 264.36 points to take the silver of the women's one-meter springboard and the bronze went to Brazilian Eloso Julianal in 251.16 points.

"In Athens, I was second to Guo, and this is the second time for me to take part in Universiade. I did not meet much competition here, I think I have chance to take another one (gold),"said Wu, who was expected to win the three-meter springboard with Guo on August 20th.

Wu clinched the title of women's of three-meter synchronized springboard diving with Chinese diving Queen Guo Jingjing in the Athens Olympic 2004.

Dreaming of hearing the national anthem from the stadium, Wu showed her talents in the preliminary round to top the table with 276.72 points, while her teammate Zhang Jun collected 241.17 points to be the fourth.

"After Montreal, we got some time to adjust ourselves, I think I am in a good form now, the delegation did not give us too much pressure, and I hope I can did my best in this Games," said Wu, who fulfilled her dream to take a gold for the "dream team".

Wu did not give other players any chance in the semi-final by producing a flurry of dazzling jumps to collect 271.35 points to lead into the final.

Zhang Jun who caught up with Wu after a perfect final jump in the seminal-final for enough points to put herself in the second place with 270.75 points, dashed out the coming silver when she fell into the pool at the third jump after touching the bar of the board in an accident to make the lowest points of dive.

"I did not know what had happened at that moment. My coach had led us come here yesterday to have a practice, and everything was fine except the board. In China, the board has no bars at all, but here, it is different," said disappointed Zhang, who eventually tailed in the bottom of the six-member final with a humiliated 216.03 points.

This is not the first time that Chinese divers made such mistakes. In Athens, Chinese diver Peng Bo witnessed his partner Wang Kenan falling into the pool at the last jump in the men's 3-meter springboard synchronized, dashing out their dream when they were so close to the gold by leading the final until the sad moment.

Peng Bo was lucky this time and his partner did not waste their mutual efforts. The dual collected 330.03 points to win the title of the men's 3-meter springboard synchronized.

"After Athens, we have time to rest for a while, and before the game, we started to training again. I kept confidence in my partner, and we proved that we did not lack of the ability to win the title. It is some kind of compensation for what we had lost in Athens," said Peng with a smile standing on the sidewalk of the pool.

Betancourt Carcia Jorge/Fornaris Alvarez Erick of Cuba collected 325.17 points to win the silver and the bronze went to Castro Cesar/Duran Cassius of Brazil in 307.83 points.

Fan Ye added another gold for China in gymnastics as she put a slow start behind her to score highest among all in the last two apparatuses for the women's all-around title.

Posting a wining total of 36.424 points, Fan pushed Suzanne Harmes of the Netherlands into the second place on 35.999 while British women Elizabeth Tweddle finished third with 35.624.

After scoring 8.762 on the vault, the apparatus in which she does not excels, Fan made a minor error in her routine on the uneven bars which drew 9.025 points from the judges. However, Fan rallied to collect 9.200 on the beam, which saw quite a few falls from players including Tweddle, and went on to notch 9.437 points in the floor exercise to secure her first all-around title at international competitions.

"Despite the error on the uneven bars, I stayed calm in the next two apparatus," said Fan, the 2003 world beam champion. "I had seldom competed in all-around before and I was under no pressure."

Fan, who had also led compatriots land the women's team title on Friday, also qualified for the apparatus finals of beam, uneven bars and floor exercise slated for Monday.

"I wanted to win in every event, but who knows what will happen?" Fan said. "I will just try my best."

In the men's all-around final, Japanese Hiroyuki Tomita scored 9.525 points on the horizontal bar to edge out Kim Dae-eun of South Korea in the last rotation for the gold.

Tomita triumphed with a total 55.998 points while Kim, who led Tomita by 0.001 points after five rotations, had to be content with the silver after managing just 9.212 on the same apparatus.

Tomita's teammate Takehiro Kashima took home the bronze ahead of Chinese Liang Fuliang.

The other two golds of the day were split by Italy and Iran.

Italian fencer Baldini Andrea overwhelmed Glonek Radoslaw of Poland by 15-2 to win the men's foil individual title.

Another Italian Cassara Andrea and Moltchan Youri from Russia shared the bronze.

The silver medallist suffered from spasm in the leg seconds after the gold-medal match started. He returned back to the piste after simple treatment and scored the first point of the bout.

However, Andrea took the lead at 2-1 and relinquished it only once throughout the fight.

Piotr Majewski, coach of the runner-up, told Xinhua the problem with Radoslaw's leg didn't affect the result.

"He felt pains on the leg but it didn't have much influence on the match. I think Baldini Andrea, today's winner, is the best one as he has won several championships," said the coach.

Hadi Habibi of Iran beat Polish Krystian Brzozowski in the final of the men's 74kg freestyle wrestling to clinch the first gold medal of Iran at the Universiade.

The United States led the medal table of the Universiade with seven golds, three silvers and three bronzes, followed by China with five golds, one silver and four bronzes.

(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2005)

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