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China Rally, Greece Fizz in First Day of Gym Apparatus Finals
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Gymnastics powerhouse China, who failed to get any gold and sliver medals in the Athens Olympics inteam and individual all-round finals, rallied in the apparatus finals as teenager Teng Haibin was crowned on pommel horse here tonight.

Greek Dimosthenis Tampakos, the silver medalist on rings at theSydney Olympics, brought an Olympic gold for the host on rings andignited the deafening cheers of the home crowd.

Teng, 19, who tied Japanese Takehiro Kashima for first place inthe event at 2003 worlds, fielded to the mat at the last of the eight competitors and brought down the house with a beautiful routine.

Teng scored 9.837 points, while Romanian pommel king Marius Urzica, 29, the only 2000 Olympic finalist on the event who qualified for the Athens event final, finished second with 9.825 points.

Teng said after the competition that he did not feel that greatfor taking the gold.

"I made too many mistakes in the team final. I felt deeply regretted for that. And I think today's gold can not offset my errors at that night."

Kashima, 24, got the bronze here with 9,787 points.

In other apparauts finals tonight, Canadian male gymnast Kyle Shewfelt, who won two bronze medals on floor and vault at the 2003worlds, claimed the floor tilte.

Shewfelt, 22, scored 9.787 points for the Olympic title. He hadcompeted at the 2000 Sydney Olympics but did not qualify for any event finals.

Romanian Marian Dragulescu, who won silver medal on vault at the 2003 worlds, got the same total score with Shewfelt but rankedsecond for the average of the counting deductions.

Bulgarian veteran Jordan Jovtchev, 31, who finished third on floor exercise and rings at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, defended hisbronze in Athens with 9.775 points.

On women's vault, Monica Rosu of Romania scored 9.656 points to take the title and the silver medal went to American veteran AnniaHatch in 9.481 points. Anna Pavlova of Russia was third in 9.475 points.

On women's uneven bars, Emilie Lepennec of France, 17, who finished fifth on floor exercise in the 2003 gymnastcis worlds, took the gold with 9.687 points.

Terin Humphrey and Courtney Kupets, both from the United States,finished second and third respectively. Humphrey scored 9.662 points while Kupets got 9.637 points.

Svetlana Khorkina from Russia, the Queen on Uneven Bars, fell from the bars and scored only 8.925 points, the worst of the eightcompetitors.

Khorkina, who will definitely retire after the Athens Olympics,failed to win the glory of triple Olympic champions on the uneven bars.

On the rings, Tampakos took the gold with the game high of 9.862 points. Jordan Jovtchev from Belarus, who finished third on the floor exercise and rings at the Sydney Olympics, followed Tampakos to the mat and clinched the sliver medal with 9.850 points.

The bronze medal on the rings tonight went to Italian Yuri Chechi, the event's champion at the Atlanta Olympics and five worlds (1993 Birmingham, 1994 Brisbane, 1995 Sabae, 1996 San Juan and 1997 Lausanne).

Chechi, ever called "the lord of the rings", scored 9.812 points tonight. He intends to retire after the Athens Olympics.

(Xinhua News  Agency  August 23, 2004) 


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