Two Golds in Day One of the Beijing Olympics
China won two golds on the first day of the 29th Beijing Olympics.
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Athens Olympic gold medalist Du Li cracked under pressure early yesterday but China overcame the early setback to end Day 1 with two gold medals.
Weightlifter Chen Xiexia triumphed in the 48kg division and Pang Wei won the 10-meter air pistol.
Du Li was expected to give China a golden start by winning the women’s 10-meter air pistol early yesterday but left the Beijing Shooting Range Hall in tears after finishing fifth.
Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic grabbed the gold and equaled the world record in the qualification round. Her winning total of 503.5 points broke the Olympic record set by Du Li four years ago.
“I really feel bad for Du Li. She can shoot better than she did today,” Emmons said. “The Chinese media is maybe putting too much pressure on her.”
Du Li said she was satisfied with her early performance.
“I was satisfied with the 399 points that I scored to qualify for the final,” Du said. “But I wasn’t maybe fully prepared for the pressure of competing at home.”
She later calmed herself and said that she would be ready for her next event on Thursday in the 50-meter rifle competition.
But China roared with delight when Chen Xiexia struck gold in the women’s 48kg weightlifting with a record 212kg total lift.
“I have been thinking of winning a medal, but never thought it would turn out to be the first gold medal for China,” a thrilled Chen told reporters. “I’m very happy and I think I did a very good job – my best so far.
“I did not disappoint my teammates and the crowd was special.”
Chinese Taipei’s Chen Wei-ling, who took the bronze, attributed her success to her new coach Zhang Jiamin, from Shenyang in northeast China’s Liaoning Province.
The crowd cheered Chen Wei-ling as much as they did Chen Xiexia.
“I felt like I was competing at home and won a home game. That was great support to me,” she said.
Pang Wei fired gold in the men’s 10-meter air pistol with a score of 688.2 points.
Pang, in his Olympics debut, led from start to finish. The 22-year-old established a big lead in the qualification round and was hardly ever threatened.
Elsewhere, Mariel Zagunis led a US sweep in the women’s sabre, while Spanish cyclist Samuel Sanchez braved the hot and humid weather to sprint best in the men’s road race from the Forbidden City to the Great Wall.
Romania and South Korea split the two golds contested in the first day’s judo competition.
United States swimmer Michael Phelps issued a warning to his rivals by clocking 4 minutes 7.82 seconds to break his own Olympic record in the men’s 400m individual medley.
The 23-year-old is seeking to surpass fellow American Mark Spitz’ 1972 record of seven golds in one Games.