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Wang Meng wins 500m national title for first time
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Olympic and world champion Wang Meng took the women's 500m National Games title for the first time in the short track speedskating of the 11th National Games in Qingdao on Saturday.

The 24-year-old from Heilongjiang province stormed to the victory in 43.522 seconds, 0.340 short of her Vienna world championships winning time.

Her national and provincial teammate Liu Qiuhong took silver in 43.558 after she finished second behind Wang in the world championships in early March. Zhou Yang of Jilin took bronze in 44.278.

Wang, the women's 500m titlist in Turin Winter Olympics, was happy to finally walk out of the shadow in the past eight years. She was third in the 9th Games in 2001 and came fifth in 2005.

"I have never won the 500m in the past national games. It was like a jinx to me," said the short-distance specialist. "It always posed as a big challenge to me although it is a domestic tournament."

Zhou, 1,500m world record holder, was also satisfied with her result.

"I was not prowess in short distance so I am happy with the bronze," she said.

In the men's event, Ma Yunfeng of Heilongjiang seized the title in 42.390, 0.388 seconds ahead of Jilin's Han Jialiang who lost his Vienna world championship bronze to a foul. Yu Jiyang of Hebei was third in 42.949.

Sui Baoku, winner of 1,500m on Friday, was disqualified for blocking.

The three-day event sees six golds in men's and women's 500m, all round and 3,000m relay in the coastal city of Qingdao, where the Beijing Olympic Games sailing event was held in August last year.

Every province, autonomous regions and the army will field athletes to vie for glories in the quadrennial national games which serves as a showcase of sport development in various areas in China.

The 11th National Games kick off in October in Jinan, capital city of Shandong while winter events such as speedskating, short track speedskating and figure skating were moved ahead.

(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2009)

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