Tools: Save | Print | E-mail |
China Off to Good Start in Olympics
Adjust font size:

Olympic debutante Du Li fired the start gun for China's gold rush in the Athens Games on Saturday as the 2000 Olympic third-place finisher nabbed four gold medals from shooting and diving.

US swim phenom Michael Phelps broke his own world record in winning the men's 400m individual medley and his nemesis Ian Thorpe picked the 400m freestyle gold, making their only encounter in 200m freestyle even more attractive.

Three more world marks tumbled. Australia set a new world record of 3:35.94 to win the women's 4x100m freestyle while Turkey's women's weightlifer Nurcan Taylan shattered two world records en route to the top podium.

Du Li clinched the Olympics' first gold in the women's 10m air rifle with an Olympic record of 502.0 points, beating a host of elite markswomen including top-ranked Lioubov Galkina of Russia and world and European champion Katerina Kurkova from the Czech Republic.

The 22-year-old student entered the 10-shot final with 398 points as a joint second and was edged into fifth after opening the final with a 9.4 points.

"I was nervous about the first shot, but as the final went on, I regained my calmness," she said.

The Chinese rejoined the title race with 10.6 and 10.8 points. But she didn't overtake Galkina until the last shot, firing a 10.6 against the Russian's 9.7.

Galkina, who led by a full point into the final with 399 points, picked the silver with 501.5 points. Kurkova claimed the bronze.

Wang Yifu, a six-time Olympian and the oldest athlete at 44 in the Chinese sports delegation, added 10m air pistol gold to his Olympic medal collection that includes a 1992 gold, three silvers and a bronze.

Wang edged out world record holder Mikhail Nestruev from Russia by 0.2 points for a winning total of 690 points, a new Olympic record.

"I'm extremely excited at the victory," said a teary Wang, who had collapsed and passed out after missing the gold by 0.1 point in the 1996 Olympics.

Guo Jingjing and Wu Mingxia grabbed the Games' first diving gold in the women's 3m springboard synchronized final, totaling 336.90 points against second-placed Russian duo Vera Ilyina/Yulia Pakhalina's 330.84.

They were followed up by compatriots Tian Liang and Yang Jinghui, who totaled 383.88 points for the men's 10m synchronized gold.

In an event hogging most spotlight, Phelps lifted the Games' first swim gold and a world record.

The American teenager later claimed that winning seven gold medals here, just as fellow countryman Mark Spitz did in the 1972 Olympics, was possible.

"That's one down and six to go," he said after winning the 4x100m IM in 4:08.26, bettering his own mark of 4:08.41 set in the US Olympic trials on July 7.

"The whole day I was thinking about this race. I didn't sleep last night and I just swam as fast as I could."

Phelps' Australian rival Ian Thorpe defended his 400m freestyle crown in 3:43.10 and was in tears after out-touching teammate Grant Hackett in an electrifying final.

"I was emotional, I didn't realize how much this event meant tome," he said.

World record holder Yana Klochkova of Ukraine retained her 400mIM title in 4:34.83, just 0.12 of a second ahead of American Kaitlin Sandeno. Georgina Bardach of Argentina took the bronze in4:37.51.

Australia won the women's 4x100m freestyle in a new world record clocking of 3:35.94, beating the previous world standard of3:36.00 set by Germany on July 29, 2002.

The United States picked the silver in 3:36.39 and the Netherlands got the bronze in 3:37.59.

On the judo mat, history was made by Japanese pair Tadahiro Nomura and Ryoko Tani.

Nomura became the first triple Olympic champion in the sport and Tani was the first woman to win a second title.

Nomura edged out Georgian Nestor Khergiani in the men's under-60kg final to win Japan's 100th summer Olympic gold.

Tani, still troubled with an ankle injury, beat France's Frederique Jossinet by waza-ari in the women's under 48kg final.

Italian cyclist Paolo Bettini won a grueling 224.4km road race with a time of 5:41.44, overtaking Portugal's Sergio Paulinho in a final spurt.

Fencer Aldo Montano won Italy's second gold as he rallied to defeat Hungarian Zsolt Nemcsik 15-14 in the men's individual sabre.

Turkey's Nurcan Taylan upset Chinese Li Zhuo in the women's 48kg category to win the first weightlifting gold medal.

Taylan lifted 97.5 kg in the snatch, breaking the former world mark of 93.5kg set by Li Zhuo last September.

The 21-year-old went on to set one more world mark as she garnered 210kg after lifting 112.5 in the clean and jerk. Li was second with 205.0kg.

In a heavy blow to the pride of hosts, who have already delivered a thumbs-up opening ceremony, Greek Olympic 200m champion Costas Kenteris and women's 100m silver medallist Katerina Thanou have been withdrawn from the Athens Games pending an International Olympic Committee (IOC) hearing.

Greek Olympic chief Lambis Nikolaou said they decided to remove the athletes until a final decision by the IOC, who is investigating whether they deliberately missed the doping check, an act usually treated as a failed test.

(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2004)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail |

Username   Password   Anonymous
China Archives
Related >>
- Wang Yifu Notches a Second Shooting Gold for China
- China Wins 4 Golds in Opening Day Matches
- China Bags Two Diving Golds at Athens Olympics
- China's Pommel King Out of Final
- Turkish Weightflighter Makes History at Athens
Most Viewed >>
- White paper on energy
- Endangered monkeys grow in number
- Yangtze River's Three Gorges 2 mln years in the making
- The authorities sets sights on polluted soil
- China, US benefit from clean energy

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys