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Norway's javelin thrower Andreas smashes Olympic record
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Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen won the men's javelin throw gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games on Saturday.

The Athens Games champion retained his title with a throw of 90.57 meters, and broke the Olympic record of of 90.17m set by Zelezny Jan of Czeck when winning gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Latovia's Ainars Kovals took the silver with 86.64 meters and Finland's Tero Pitkamaki won the bronze with 86.16.

The 26-year-old veteran had taken the lead since the first attempt, and his domination had never been threatened throughout the race. He threw an amazing 90.57 meters in his fifth try. With an effort enough to break the Olympic record, he dropped his last chance and clinched the gold.

"I was very emotional and I just couldn't believe that I had beaten the pack," said the champion. "I set two goals for this year - one was to win a medal in the championships in Oslo, my hometown. The second was to win an Olympic gold medal. I've always said that as long as I can win in Oslo and at the Olympic Games, that's it for me. I knew I could reach it."

On refreshing the record, he said: "I wanted to get the record, especially after such a strong start. It was a record, I broke it, even though it wasn't my personal best."

The champion was quite happy about his fifth medal, but certainly eyed more to come as he put it: "I'm happy that I've now got five medals but my overall goal was to beat Janis Lusis of Soviet Union's 11 championship medals. I'm now on five, so we'll see how I go."

Kovals's last throw meant Pitkamaki, the 2007 world champion finished with the bronze medal after failing to find his best rhythm to come close to 90 meters. His best throw was his last, an 86.16 meters.

Tero Jarvenpaa of Finland had appeared to have given Finland a second medal following his throw of 83.95 meters with his first effort, but was unable to repeat the feat and slipped out of the medals when Kovals moved into second position.

"I was very happy. It was out of my expectation. I didn't expect to get a medal before the competition, even a silver."

"I suffered from some psychological problems this year. In other competitions this season, my best result was only 80 metres. Today I was pretty calm. Basically, I suffered no emotional fluctuation." said Kovals.

"Of course I'm a little bit disappointed. I wanted a gold medal. But I'm happy. It's an OK result for this season. I've had a lot of problems and injuries," said Pitkamaki who clinched 12 Golden League title during 2005-2008.

(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2008)

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