Team China misses out on gold, looks for silver linings

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Zhang Yufei of China competes during the women's 100m butterfly final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, on July 26, 2021. [PhotoXinhua]

After a spectacular first two days at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Team China had to look for silver linings on day three of competition when it failed to add to its gold medal tally.

After finishing day two atop the medal table with six gold, one silver and four bronze medals, China was in third place after adding four silvers and three bronzes to its tally on Monday.

Host Japan led the table with eight golds, followed by the US with seven.

Despite disappointments in table tennis and diving, there was plenty for China's supporters to cheer in the swimming events.

Zhang Yufei, 23, earned a silver medal in the women's 100-meter butterfly on Monday clocking 55.64 seconds, only 0.05 seconds slower than gold medalist Margaret MacNeil of Canada, who was born in China. Zhang said the race was a valuable learning experience, which would help her deal with nerves. "This is going to be helpful for my 200-meters (butterfly), and I believe I'm going to do a better job," she said after the race.

Zhang is a gold favorite in Thursday's 200m butterfly final. China has won the event twice in the past three Olympic Games, with Liu Zige in 2008 and Jiao Liuyang in 2012.

On Monday, Zhang's teammate Li Bingjie became the first swimmer representing an Asian country to claim a medal in the women's 400m freestyle when she secured a bronze.

To many people's surprise, reigning world champions Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen were defeated by Japan's Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito in the table tennis mixed doubles final.

The Chinese men's artistic gymnastics team of Lin Chaopan, Sun Wei, Zou Jingyuan and Xiao Ruoteng also missed their shot at gold and ended up in third place behind the Russian Olympic Committee and Japan.

British pair Tom Daley and Matty Lee, with their victory in the men's synchronized 10-meter platform on Monday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, ended China's hopes of a diving clean sweep.

Cao Yuan and Chen Aisen started strongly, but slipped up on their fourth dive, a reverse three and a half somersault, scoring 20 points less than the British duo, who dived consistently well.

"We are disappointed that we did not get the gold medal. But for the whole performance, we got 470 points, which is not bad. However, the competition has finished, so we have to face up to it and keep going," Cao said.

Wei Meng who earned a bronze medal in the women's skeet shooting on Monday, said she and her sister will work harder to perform better at the next Olympics.

Wei's sister, Wei Ning, won silver in the women's skeet at the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games but did not compete in Tokyo.

"It is my wish, and it is my sister's wish, that we can change the color of the medal, so we will work very hard, and, hopefully, we will be back in three years," Wei said.

Cheung Ka Long, who represents the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, delivered the SAR's second-ever Olympic gold medal when the 24-year-old fencer won the men's foil individual event on Monday.

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