Female swimmers deliver first gold for Netherlands
The team won its first gold in the 4 x 100 metre freestyle relay since 1936 despite facing strong opponents such as the American and Australian teams.
11 August 2008
BEIJING - Female swimmers have won the first gold medal for the Netherlands at the Beijing Olympics.
Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk and Marleen Veldhuis won the 4 x 100 metres freestyle relay in 3 minutes 33.76 seconds. It was the Netherlands' first gold in the race since 1936. The US won silver, while the Australians took bronze.
Ingrid Dekker's luck didn't, however, extend to victory in the 100 metres butterfly. Although she reached the final, she ended in eighth and last place. The gold medal went to the Australian Lisbeth Trickett-Lenton.
The Dutch men's 4 x 100 freestyle relay team failed to qualify for the finals, a doubly disappointing failure given that the team won silver four years ago in Sydney.
In judo, the Netherlands won another medal on Saturday when Ruben Houkes, reigning world judo champion in the under 60 kilo class, took bronze. Deborah Gravenstijn has reached the women's semi-finals and will face Xu Yan from China.
In other sports, gymnast Epke Zonderland qualified for a place in the high bar finals, the first Dutchman ever to do so.
The women's hockey team made a convincing start to the games with a 6-0 victory over the South African team.
Less convincing was the Dutch footballs team's 2-2 draw against the United States. But Foppe de Haan's team is still in the running for the quarter-finals, after Gerald Sibon scored an equaliser in extra time.
In the beach volleyball competition, Rebekka Kadijk and Merel Mooren lost their second group game to Cuba, who beat them in two sets. The women will play their last group game against Germany. If they win, they will still have a chance to reach the next round.
In rowing, water polo, fencing and cycling, both the men's and women's eights rowing teams have failed to win a place in the final. The men's team ended third in their series. The women came second.
However, both teams have qualified for an extra heat on Tuesday. In the water polo competition, the Dutch women's team lost their first group tournament to Hungary, who beat them 11 - 9.
For Dutch fencer Indra Angad-Gaur, the games are over. She lost in the second round of the foil competition. Cyclist Marianne Vos has also had a disappointing Olympics, coming in sixth in the women's road race. The gold medal went to Britain's Nicole Cooke.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]
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