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Russia gears up gold collection, China stays on top
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Russia regained its gold-winning momentum, pocketing three more on Wednesday, while host China added two more to keep its leading position on the medal table at the 24th Winter Univesiade.

The other five gold medals of the day were split among Japan, South Korea, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

From its stronghold, Russia reaped two more golds in the cross-country as Valentina Novikova, winner of the women's 5 kilometers and pursuit, teamed up with Yulia Tchekaleva and Marina Chernousova to snatch the women's 3X5km relay gold with 43 minutes and 33.7 seconds.

Ukraine and France were second and third on 44:31.3 and 44:58.1 respectively.

In the men's 4X10km relay, Konstantin Glavatskikh, Egor Sorin, Sergey Turychev and Aleksey Tchernousov clocked one hour, 52 minutes and 32.7 seconds for the victory.

It was salso the second gold of Sorin, Turychev and Tchernousov in the Yabuli Ski Resort, where they had claimed respective victories in the men's sprint, pursuit and 10km freestyle.

Japan took the silver with 1:54:41.9 and the Czech Republic finished third in 1:55:22.2.

So far, Russia has swept all eight cross country events with two more golds up for grab in the men's 30km and women's 15km classic.

The third gold of the day for Russia came from women's biathlon as Anna Kunaeva timed in 33:14.7, beating Chinese Liu Yuanyuan and Polish Weronika Novakowska to second and third respectively.

In Maoershan, another venure of the Universiade, world champion Liu Jiayu dominated the women's half-pipe, nailing her first and China's 14th title, with two electrifying runs in untouchable height.

The 18-year-old, fresh from winning the World Championship of the year, made her first run at 45.6 points, the highest among the six finalists for her height in the air and aerial agility.

She executed four big tricks in the second, winning 46.7 points for an untouchable advantage.

Teammates Sun Zhifeng and Xu Chen finished second and third respectively in 42.6 and 40.7 points.

From Harbin, the host had its 15th gold medal when Jin Peiyu and Yu Jing finished 1-2 in the women's 1,000m speed skating.

Jin clocked one minute and 16.83 seconds for the title and 100m winner Yu timed 1:16.96 for the silver, beating the 1,500m champion Nao Kodaira of Japan to third on 1:17.48.

The gold medal of the men's 10,000m speed skating went to Dutch Arjen van der Kieft who clocked 13 minutes and 35.31 seconds, his double after the 5,000m trophy.

Russia's Artem Belousov took the silver, beating Renz Rotteveel of the Netherlands to third.

Ukraine's biathlete Oleg Berezhnoy beat Russian favorite Artem Gusev to win the men's 12.5 kilometers pursuit with his superior skiing after one missed target in 33 minutes 47.3 seconds.

Gusev, double winner in the individual and sprint, missed eight of the 20 targets, while Jaroslav Soukup of the Czech Republic took the bronze with three missed targets.

Dimitri Cuche of Switzerland won the men's giant slalom in 2:11.20 while Japan had its taste of gold medal from the men's half pipe through Kokubo Kazuhiro and South Korea won the men's K90m team ski jumping at 726.5 points.

With three more days to go, China held its top position with 15 gold, 17 silver and 11 bronze, followed by Russia (14-11-12), South Korea (12-5-9) and Japan (7-8-3).

(Xinhua News Agency February 25, 2009)

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