With only one day to go before the closing ceremony, our last International Control Commission statistics indicate a total of 6675 participants. This is the biggest Universiade ever.
Russia doused Hungary's gold medal hopes in the water polo competition at the 21st Universiade yesterday afternoon. In their semifinal match that lasted for almost an hour, probably the longest in world university water polo history, the Russians beat Hungary 16-15. The two teams were tied 8-8 by the end of the last quarter. In the first period of extra time, Hungary was in the lead with8-9 at 49 seconds left, when Russia equalized. The Hungarians were thrilled when Gabor Jager scored with only one second left in extra, but were soon upset when Jean-Paul Clemencon, the chairman FISU Technical Commission for Water Polo, determined the last score to be invalid. Russia finally broke the heart of the gold medal favorite Hungary and won the game in penalty shot ont. Tchomahidze Revaz, captain of the Russian team, said after the match, "Actually we didn't play well, since we missed 2 or 3 chances to end the game. We should forget today's victory and get ready for tomorrow's finals". Russia will play against Italy, which defeated Yugoslavia 6-5, to advance into the finals. "Italy is stronger than Hungary, maybe not in physically but strategycally. It should be a difficult game," Revaz said. Hungary will compete against Yugoslavia for Bronze.
The Chinese women's volleyball team beat Russia 3-1 to successfully defend the women's volleyball title at the 21st Universiade. China took the first two sets with ease 25-17, 25-18, but lost the third 15-25. After a minor adjustment, they overpowered the Russians in the last set 25-10. "Our players fully displayed their strength with hard spikes, and quick attacks", commented Lin Yuting, head coach of the Chinese team."The tall Russians also did quite well", Lin said. According to Lin, Russian players, though very tall, did not display their flexibility in blocking and that was one of the elements that contributed to their defeat. Lin also expressed his thanks to the staff and volunteers of the BUAA gymnasium, for the help they had provided for his team's training. Russian head coach Omelchenko U. and no.4 player Tatiana Gorchkova attended the press conference. They looked very depressed with the result and the coach also blamed their defeat on their inability to adapt to the environment of the gymnasium. Some 14,500 spectators watched the match. Their excitement and enthusiasm meant a source of great envouragement to the Chinese girls and a lot of pressure for the Russian players.
The bronze medal of the women's volleyball went to Thailand.
American men's volleyball players know how sweet the Universiade medals are after beating France 3-1, 26-28, 25-19, 25-18 and 25-21. After losing the first set, the American's picked up their game an didn't stopuntil the end. French coach Pierre Laborie said, "Our team was very good in the first set. But when the Americans began attacking our center court, there was nothing else we could do ". Although France lost the game, French captain Onya Opota's performance was still impressive. American coach Ruben A. Nieves said, "it was hard for us to control n°6. We had difficulty stopping his many different shots".
But their solid defense helped the American team. Mr. Nieves said, "Defense is very important for our success. The best part of our defense is blocking. And our good serves make our blocking easier".
It's the first time that the Americans won the Universiade title. Before that, their best record was the second at the 1991 Universiade.
Russian men's sabre team beat Italy 45: 37 to win the gold in the men's sabre team competition. The bronze went to Spain. This is Spain's only fencing medal at this Universiade. "We are the only team to take part in the fencing team event of the 21st Universiade", said one Spanish fencer. "Our victory is 100 percent assured".
Although Italy just got the silver medal, Italian fencers were still very happy. "Our performance was not excellent, but it was good", said Italy's Giampiero Pastore. "We confronted the big Russia, so we were prepared to accept defeat". "Russia is always very strong",said Romania's Mihai Claubiu Covaliu, men's sabre world No.1 and champion of the 2000 Olympics. "There are many excellent fencing training schools in Moscow".
Russia beat China 45:38 to win the gold in the women's sabre team competition. The Russians swept both the team titles in bout today.
The bronze went to the Italian team.
"Our pretty girls played beautifully," said Russian team official Govokhova Galina. "Russia has grabbed three gold medals in this Universiade. Our next plan is to participate in the world cup championships held on October".
It was the first time for China's young sabre fencers to compete in the large international multi-sports event, and the Chinese were obviously pleased with the silver. "We are becoming more experienced by taking part in this high-level competition", said China's Bao Yingying, a 17-year-old fencer. "European fencers are very skillful and experienced. We have a long way to go to catch up with them."
Lee Seung-Hun, the No.3 seeded player from Korea (KOR) harvested the men's singles tennis title. Lee Seung-Hun beat the sixth-seeded Russian player Philippe Moukhometov in two straight sets 6-4, 6-2 in the finals. Moukhometov took the silver while the Swiss player Matthew Amgwerd and Lu Yen-Hsun from Chinese Taipei shared the bronze. The 22-year-old Lee Seung-Hun, from Myngji University of Seoul, ranked first in the World Tennis Championships earlier this year. He suffered a slight injury on his knee in the first set, but fought to the end and won the heart of all spectators. "I felt great pressure while playing on the court, because I was hoping to win the first gold for South Korea", Lee said after the match.
The 17-year-old Russian player Philippe Moukhometov from Moscow Sports University also said he "felt pressure" in the finals. He attributed his opponent's success to his good technique.
China's No.2 seeded player Li Na upset her opponent Janet Lee, the No.1 seeded player from Chinese Taipei to take the title of the women's singles tennis finals. Janet, also defending champion of the Universiade tennis and the world's No. 87, tossed her racket when she hit the ball beyond the baseline and lost the game. The match finished 4-6, 6-3 and 6-2.
Janet Lee took the silver and South Korean Chung Yang Jin and British Amanda Janes shared the bronze. Li Na met Janet Lee in the finals of the Federation Cup earlier this year and lost the match. "I felt no pressure today and performed my best", said the gold medallist. "This is China's 6th gold in the hitory of women's singles tennis at the Universiade, and I feel very excited". She attributed her loss in the first set due to her "negligence".
Janet Lee was not satisfied with her performance today, saying that she did not do well in serves and attacks.
China's No.6 seeded pair Zhu Benqiang and Li Na had an easy win over the German pair Jan Boruszewski and Claudia Bensch and won the mixed doubles tennis title. The match was one-sided and finished in straight two sets 6-3, 6-1. Zhu told reporters his performance in this match was his best ever since he played tennis as a professional. He attributed the success to the good teamwork between him and his partner Li Na, saying, "we both performed our best without even committing a minor error".
Li Na, who took the gold medal in women's singles this morning, hoped to improve her world ranking by taking part in more international competitions. Earlier this year Zhu and Li participated in the ITF Tournament and respectively won the champions in the men's singles and women's singles. Boruszewski, from Technical University Munich of Germany, described the competition as "tough." "We played well, but they are better," he said.
The Chinese team manager Jiang Xiuyun said at the press conference that the Chinese tennis team made a great breakthrough at the Universiade by bagging three out of the five golds. But she seemed to remain cool headed in assessing the Chinese team's level. "We need more experience in international tennis matches to narrow the gap between us and the world class players, and have better performance in major competitions like the Olympics," she said. The Czech pair Tomas Macharacek and Linda Faltynkova and South Korea's Kim Dong- Hyun and Kim Eun-Ha shared the bronze.
China won two team titles of rhythmic gymnastics in both 3 Rope-2 Ball and 5 Clubs. Russia won the silver medal and the bronze went to Japan in both events. "This was unexpected to us," said Mo Xiaohua, a gymnast of the Chinese team. "But we were confident in ourselves and we finally made it." As Mo said, the Chinese team studied the new regulations carefully and they performed well today as a team. "We trust each other while we work together," said Mo. "We are satisfied with ourselves as we performed well today," said Ananievn Elena, a gymnast from Russia. "Everyone wanted to get the gold, but sport is sport." Nakata Masami, a gymnast from Japan, said that although she and her teammates "are placed first in our country, we still have a long way to go to catch up with Chinese and Russian teams." Masami said with a smile that she "would not make any comments on the result" but said she and her teammates would continue to work hard on training.
Yerofeyeva Tamara, rhythmic gymnast from Ukraine, won the gold medal of the individual all-round here this evening.
It's her first time participating in the individual all-around competition of rhythmic gymnastics. At the age of 20, she began her rhythmic gymnastic career at seven and she is now studying sports training in Kiev University. "Our training is more than physical ability", she said."The feel of the music is more important". Tkachenko, 18, from Belarus won the silver and Belova Olga of Russia won the bronze.
China's gold spree partly comes from track and field where their momentum continued as they to collected sixt golds including Li Qiumei's victory in women's discus throw. She unleashed a 61.66 meters throw, her second best throw of the year, to take the honor and her first title in an international event. "I was so excited to do a victory lap. It is a great honor for me," said Li Qiumei, a senior student in the Chinese Language Department of Shanxi Normal University. "It is my first international gold medal. That consolidated China's top place on the athletics medal tally with six golds, three silvers and three bronzes, ahead of powerhouse the United States which holds five golds and two bronzes. In other athletics disciplines, world champion Yipsi Moreno of Cuba was upset as she lost the women's hammer gold to French Manuela Montebrun who managed a winning throw of 69.78 meters.
Israeli Alexander Averbukh was also the spotlight today as he equaled the Games record of 5.80 meters to win the men's pole vault gold, the first gold for the Israeli delegation at the University Games. Spain grabbed the last athletics gold of the day as Manuel Martinez, who came in fourth at the Edmonton World Athletics Championships, triumphed in the men's shot put with his first throw of 20.97 meters.
The successful block unleashed by 2.25 meter center Yao Ming over the American Lonny Baxter with only 0.2 seconds left dashed the American's hope of making the finals. China won the keenly contested match 83-82 before thousands of roaring fans at the Qinghua University Stadium at the 21st Universiade here this evening.
Yao, standing 2-25 meters, had 12 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. The United States had 12 Universiade titles, with a record of 46 wins before yesterday's match.
China will meet the winner of the Germany/Yugoslavia match for the title. "All our preparations done are for the purpose of winning the match", said Chinese head coach Wang Fei. "We encouraged our young players to buttress their confidence in overwhelming the opponents. In the field, we tried hard to concentrate on the inside and exert pressure in the outside".The US head coach Jerry Dunn said that "China has some extremely big guys and they did a good job in the inside game. They were fully prepared both mentally and physically. I'm disappointed at losing the game. The US always expects to win the title".
China started energetically with an 11-0 lead when the American missed their first seven shots and Ely's two free-throws. The Americans came back strongly in the second quarter and took the first lead at 32-31 with 3 minutes to go and held on to the two-points lead at the break. The third quarter saw the two sides exchange lead several times before China pulled away at 69-66 at the end of the period. The Americans scored three successive three-pointers to narrow the gap to 82-83 in the fourth quarter. But the last attempt by the US to win the match was foiled by Yao Ming's excellent block.
In another semifinal match yesterday, Yugoslavia beat Germany 78-77. The Yugoslav team led 24-21 in the first quarter. Taking advantage of the rashness of the German team in the second period, the Yugoslav team enlarged the gap to 11 points by fast breaks. But the Germans rallied and outscored the Yugoslavians 41-39 at the end of the first half. In the keenly contested third quarter, the Yugoslavians outwitted the Germans and took back the lead to end the period at 61-57. In the last period, the two teams exchanged lead several times before the Yugoslavians pulled away with a one-point lead to end the match. The German coach Bernd Roder said that it was a close game, with no team in front of the other. "Yugoslav team played quite well and we, too, displayed our form", he said. The Yugoslavian coach Baletic Miodrag said that he had expected the result. "The Germans played very hard and so did we. But we are a bit luckier", he said.
China will meet Yugolavia for the title tomorrow while the United States will take up Germany for the third place.