China continues gold rush at Olympic Games

15th August 2008, Comments 0 comments

The Olympic host country won five more golds with swimmer Liu Zige setting a new world record in the 100 metres women’s butterfly.

15 August 2008

BEIJING - Hosts China won five more golds on Thursday, including its first in swimming at the Beijing Olympics when Liu Zige set a new world record in the 100 metres women's butterfly.

With triumphs in archery, shooting, judo and gymnastics, China's gold tally climbed to 22 after the sixth day of competition, more than double that of second-placed United States

Alain Bernard gave France its first-ever gold in the showpiece 100m freestyle sprint and the Australian women's 4x200m relay team smashed the world record to take the gold.

Germany collected a third equestrian gold by winning the team dressage to take the nation's tally of gold medals to seven.

The swimming action saw Japan's Kosuke Kitajima repeat his breaststroke double from Athens 2004 and American star Michael Phelps, who had no final to swim the day after becoming the most successful Olympian with 11 golds, qualify for the 200m medley final.

Liu, who led a Chinese one-two to thrill the packed Beijing Water Cube in a world record time of 2 minutes 4.18 seconds, said she did not feel pressure going into the race.

"The night before the race my coach said to me that we will have two Chinese swimmers in the final, so you don't need to force yourself to win gold, you just need to try your best," she said.

In the men's 100m freestyle sprint, Bernard gained some revenge for earlier having lost the men's 100m freestyle world record to Eamon Sullivan as he beat the Australian to the gold medal in a time of 47.21. Sullivan finished second in 47.32.

"This is the greatest day of my life. A dream has come true," said Bernard after the final of an event which saw three world records in the heats and semis. "I may have lost the world record but I am an Olympic champion and that lasts four years."

Kitajima, who won the 100m breaststroke on Monday, repeated his double from Athens as he won the men's 200m breaststroke event in the Olympic record 2:07.64 minutes, edging Australian Brenton Rickard into second place.

But the Aussies wrote the latest chapter in astonishing new relay world records.

Stephanie Rice, Bronte Barratt, Kylie Palmer and Linda Mackenzie clocked 7:44.31 minutes, slashing 5.78 seconds off the 7:50.09 a US relay swam in 2007 at the worlds in Melbourne. It was the 18th world record set in the Beijing Games.

Phelps had the second fastest time in the 200m medley semi-finals behind Ryan Lochte ahead of Friday's final.

Away from the pool China won four other golds. Du Li overcame the disappointment of finishing fifth in the air rifle event on Saturday by winning gold in the women's 50 metres rifle.

There was also delight for Italy when Chiara Cainero grabbed skeet gold in a shoot-out with Kimberly Rhode of the US and Christine Brinker of Germany.

Yang Wie gave China its first all-around gold in artistic gymnastics since 1996, while Zhang Juan Juan denied Park Sung-Hyun the honour of becoming the first woman in history to win back-to-back individual and team archery gold medals at an Olympic Games when she stunned the South Korean 110-109 in the individual final.

Yang Xiuli secured the day's fifth gold for the for medal table toppers in the women's 78kg judo event, while Mongolia's Tuvshinbayar Naidan won the men's 100kg final to give his country its first ever Olympic gold medal.

Italy won its second gold of the day thanks to a victory by Andrea Minguzzi in the men's Greco-Roman wrestling 84kg class. The awards ceremony was marred by Sweden's Ara Abrahamian, who stormed out after tossing his bronze medal onto the mat in disgust at losing to Minguzzi in the semi-final.

There were also wrestling golds for Russia's Aslanbek Khushtov and super-heavyweight world champion Mijain Lopez of Cuba, while Ukraine pipped China for fencing gold in the women's team sabre event.

In tennis, Swiss world number one Roger Federer saw his Olympic dream crushed when he bowed out to US player James Blake 6-4 7-6 (7- 2) after a rain-hit quarter-final match.

In Hong Kong, Germany beat the Netherlands to the team dressage equestrian title to continue the nation's domination at the event.

The German team of Heike Kemmer, Nadine Capellmann and Isabell Werth posted an average score of 72.916 per cent, with the Netherlands on 71.750 and Denmark third with 68.875.

It was the eighth German Olympic victory in the event since 1976 with only the boycotted Moscow Games of 1980 breaking the series.

A thunderstorm played havoc with the men's canoeing and women's kayaking events, forcing the finals to be postponed until Friday. Lack of wind and poor visibility led to the cancellation of 15 races in 7 of the 11 Olympic sailing categories.

In the second doping case involving an Olympic athlete, Taiwan baseball hitter Chang Tai-shan was suspended after testing positive for a banned substance. Spanish cyclist Maria Isabel Moreno was forced to return home at the weekend for using the blood booster EPO.

[dpa / Expatica]

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