Phelps swims to ninth gold, US and China grab four golds each

August 12th, 2008 - 11:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 12 (DPA) US superstar Michael Phelps won the 200m freestyle in world record time Tuesday, making him only the fifth Olympian in history to have won nine golds. It was one of the three swimming gold medals won by the US and means Phelps needs just one more from five events to become the first to win 10 Olympic golds.

China won four more golds to retain their lead in the medals league with men’s team success in the artistic gymnastics event; gold in the women’s synchronised diving, weightlifting and fencing.

Germany enjoyed their best day of the Games so far with three golds in equestrian event, judo and kayaking.

But Phelps was the star of day five as he edged closer to his goal of winning eight golds in Beijing.

He won the 200m freestyle in 1 minute 42.96 seconds, beating South Korean Park Tae-Hwan (1:44.85) and American Peter Vanderkaay (1:45.14) into second place and third place.

He joins Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi, US swimmer Mark Spitz and US athlete Carl Lewis on nine Olympic golds and will be the first to reach 10 if he wins Wednesday’s 200m butterfly.

He went on to equal the 200m butterfly Olympic record in heats before saying: “I will have plenty of pasta and pizza and then try to get as much rest as I can.”

His place in Wednesday’s relay was assured after the US qualified, courtesy of their reserve team who won their heat setting a new Olympic record in the process.

The other US golds came with Aaron Peirsol winning the men’s 100m breaststroke in world record time, and Natalie Coughlin winning the women’s 100m backstroke.

Australian Leisel Jones set an Olympic record when she won the 100m breaststroke and Zimbabwean Kirsty Coventry set an Olympic record in the semi-finals of the women’s 200m individual medley.

China secured its first gold of the day when Wang Xin and Chen Ruolin won the women’s synchronised 10m platform dive, keeping them on course for a diving clean sweep.

Then after victory for the men’s team artistic gymnastics event Liao Hui won the men’s weightlifting 69kg class and Zhong Man took gold in the men’s fencing individual sabre.

In shooting, South Korea’s Jin Jong Oh improved on his 2004 silver by winning the Olympic pistol competition and the US’s Walton Eller won his country’s fourth gold of the day in the double trap.

Russia got their first and second golds of the Games with a wrestling double. Nazir Mankiev won the bantamweight title and teenager Islam-Beka Albiev won the featherweight gold with a 6-0 rout over former European champion Vitali Rahimov of Azerbaijan.

But it is Germany who will perhaps be the happiest after day five. Having won nothing until Tuesday, Alexander Grimm won the men’s K1 kayak single, Ole Bischof took gold in the men’s 81-kilogram judo final and their team triumphed in the equestrian team eventing.

Slovakia and North Korea also got off the mark with a gold in men’s C1 canoe single for Michal Martikan, and in women’s 63kg weightlifting for Pak Hyon Suk, respectively.

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