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China dominates Olympic opening day, Phelps disappoints
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 29 - 07 - 2012


China dominated the start of competition at the
London Olympics on Saturday amid a day of disappointment for US
swimming star Michael Phelps and Britain's fancied cycling team, dpa reported.
The powerful Chinese contingent picked up two swimming golds, one
of them with the first world record of the Games, and took top
honours in women's weightlifting and shooting.
Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, 16, came from behind to win the women's
400 metres medley in 4 minutes 28.43 seconds, beating Stephanie
Rice's record from 2008 by more than one second.
Ye's gold was the second of the night for China as Sun Yang had
earlier become the first male swimmer from his country to win a gold
medal when he won the 400m freestyle in Olympic record time.
But it was a disappointing night for Phelps, who was outclassed by
US rival Ryan Lochte, who won his fourth career gold in commanding
fashion in the 400m medley.
Phelps, who finished fourth, said he did not find the gear he was
looking for. "I'm a bit frustrated, I'm not feeling that great. I
just want to put this race behind me and move on," he said.
The world class swimmer, who has amassed 14 Olympic golds and two
bronze medals over the years, is just two medals shy of equalling
Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's record of 18 medals.
Lochte clocked 4:05.18 seconds, streaking away from his rivals on
the backstroke leg. The American seemed on course to break the world
record until the 300m mark, when he tired and dropped his pace.
"For four years I've been training hard. This is just my first
event so I'm really happy. I'm ready to rock this Olympics," said
Lochte, who is going for six gold medals at these Games.
Australia's women took gold in the omen's 4x100m freestyle, ahead
of the Netherlands and a disappointing US squad.
The medals competition began as Britain basked in praise of the
spectacular opening ceremony, featuring the country's social and
musical achievements as well as a cameo role by Queen Elizabeth.
Britain's hope of a golden start to the Games were dashed by
Alexandr Vinokourov of Kazakhstan, who upset the favourites to win
the gold medal in the men's road race.
Britain's Mark Cavendish, rated the world's best sprinter, was
expected to win but the host team could not reel in a series of
breakaways and the 38-year-old Vinokourov out-sprinted Rigoberto Uran
Uran of Colombia in the final stages.
"What a way to finish your career," said the 38-year-old
Vinokourov, who served a two-year ban for blood doping after a
positive test in 2007
The first gold of the Games went to world champion Yi Siling of
China, who was mobbed and even shed a tear after claiming victory in
the women's 10 metres air rifle shooting.
"I felt like a movie star," said a delighted Yi who was mobbed by
Chinese journalists and broke into tears after she finally realised
what she had achieved.
China was not so lucky on the men's side with the 2008 winner Pang
Wei finishing fourth in the 10m air pistol behind gold medalist Jin
Jong Oh of South Korea.
China's fourth gold of the day went to favourite Wang Mingjuan in
the women's weightlifting 48kg category. The four times world
champion was competing in her first Olympic Games after missing out
in 2004 and 2008.
In fencing, Italy swept the women's foil, with Elisa di Francisca
defeating compatriot Arianna Errigo in the final. Valentina Vezzali
had to settle for bronze after failing to become the first woman in
Olympic history to win four gold medals in a row in the same event.
Italy won another gold in archery, while Brazil's Sarah Menezes
and Arsen Galstyan of Russia triumphed against superior opponents to
win judo golds.


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