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Newz Forum: OLYMPICS: China's Li Du wins Games' first gold

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posted on Aug, 14 2004 @ 11:33 AM
ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Li Du won the first gold medal of the Summer Games and countryman Wang Yifu added China's second in Olympic shooting Saturday.

Li finished with an Olympic-record 502 points, a half-point ahead of Russia's Lioubov Galkina, after scoring 10.6 points on her final attempt to win the women's 10-meter air rifle.

Katerina Kurkova, the 2002 world champion from the Czech Republic, won the bronze.

Wang Yifu won gold on his final shot, setting an Olympic record after a see-saw duel with Mikhail Nestruev in the men's 10-meter air pistol.

Russia finished second and third, with Nestruev taking the silver and Vladimir Isakov the bronze.

Wang ended up with 690.0 points - just ahead of Nestruev's 689.8.

Li shot after Galkina on their 10th and final attempts. When her winning score was posted, the crowd broke into a loud cheer.

Galkina set an Olympic record with a 399 in the qualifying round, and led Li by 1.4 points with just three shots left. But Li finished strong, getting two 10.8s before her last attempt. The maximum score in the final round is 10.9.

"To start with, I was a bit nervous," Li said through a translator. "The more I did it, the more confidence I got."

Li's comeback was even more impressive because it came against Galkina, who was ranked No. 1 in the world coming into the event.

Li was ranked No. 9, but after finishing second at the 2002 world championships, she knew she could compete with anybody.

"I'm fully confident with myself wherever I am," she said.

Wang and Nestruev traded the lead throughout the final round. Nestruev had led after the qualification round with a score of 591, an Olympic record to Wang's 590.

After six shots of the final Nestruev led 651.1 to 650.7.

Wang went ahead on the seventh shot but dropped to second again on the eighth when he scored just 8.9 compared to the Russian's 10.2. After nine shots, they were equal at 680.1 apiece.

With the gold medal riding on the final shot, both appeared to feel the pressure. Wang did a 9.9 and Nestruev 9.7.

Wang realized he had won the medal and took another deep breath, raised his arms slightly in triumph, hugged a team official and shook hands with Nestruev.


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