China claim first gold of Beijing Games (Olympic Lead)August 9th, 2008 - 7:28 pm ICT by IANS
By John Bagratuni
Beijing, Aug 9(DPA) - Host nation China took their first gold medals of the 2008 Olympics on Saturday, winning in weightlifting and sharing shooting honours with the Czech Republic. Spanish cyclist Samuel Sanchez took gold in the gruelling men’s road race ahead of Italy’s Davide Rebellin in a sprint finish involving six riders. Switzerland’s Fabio Cancellara claimed bronze.
Chen Xiexia lived up to her top billing in the women’s 48 kilos weightlifting competition to the delight of 6,000 fans in the packed Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics Gymnasium.
The 2007 world champion lifted 87kg in the snatch and 117kg in the clean and jerk for an Olympic record of 212kg, beating Sibel Ozkan of Turkey into second place. Bronze went to Taiwan’s Chen Wei-Ling.
“I have been thinking about winning a medal but I never thought it would turn out to be the first gold medal for China. I am very happy and I did a good job,” said Chen.
Chen’s gold put China on a path it hopes will lead to a record haul at its home Games, with a 600-plus team that might even beat the US for first place in the final medals standings.
Her victory compensated for an earlier disappointment for China in the women’s 10 metres air rifle shooting, where the 2004 gold medallist Du Li had to settle for fifth place.
Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic won the event to capture the first gold of the Games, with Lioubov Galkina taking silver for Russia and Snjezana Pejcic of Croatia grabbing the bronze.
“Now I have achieved the very best, everything that I could get. Especially since it’s my first gold at the Olympics it feels amazing,” said Emmons, who received the gold medal from Olympic supremo Jacques Rogge.
Emmons, 24, equalled the world record 400 rings in the qualifying round and never looked back in the 10-round final, adding 103.5 for a total 503.5 rings.
In the men’s 10 metres air pistol, China’s Pang Wei put in a commanding performance to give his country it’s second Olympic gold. Silver went to Jin Jong Oh from South Korea, with North Korea’s Kim Jong Su taking bronze.
In the cycling road race, Sanchez edged out the field amid high humidity on a testing 245.4-kilometre-long course in a time of 6 hours 23 minutes 49 seconds.
The race began from the Yongdingmen Gate in Beijing and the riders headed 78.8 kilometres northwest towards the Great Wall at JuYongGuan for seven tough 23.8km-long circuits up and down the Badaling Pass.
Greek Olympics sprinter Tassos Gousis was expected to head for home after failing a drugs test conducted by the Greek anti-doping agency ESKAN while the team was training in Japan.
The 29-year-old, who had been scheduled to compete in the men’s 200 metres, was found to have used methyltrienlone, the substance which led to the banning of 11 Greek weightlifters earlier this year.
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Tags: 2008 olympics, aeronautics and astronautics, air pistol, air rifle, beijing university, cancellara, chen wei, davide rebellin, emmons, gold medallist, gold medals, jacques rogge, olympic record, ozkan, record haul, rifle shooting, s chen, samuel sanchez, snjezana, world champion