Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chinese delegation satisfied with first half lead at Beijing Games

Chinese delegation is pleased by its athletes' achievements in the first half of the on-going Beijing Olympic Games, said a senior sports official on Sunday.

Cui Dalin, deputy chef de mission of the Chinese delegation, said Chinese athletes had done "quite a good job" to claim 27 gold medals, 13 silver medals and seven bronze medals in the past eight competition days to lead the gold medals tally.

"Most of the Chinese competitors fully displayed their abilities to realize the goal of achieving good results on home soil," said Cui at a press conference. "They have done quite a good job."

China fielded the largest-ever team of 1,099 strong members including 639 athletes to the Aug. 8-24 Games in the Chinese capital.

They compete in all the 38 disciplines from the 28 sports and now have won gold medals in archery, badminton, diving, fencing, gymnastics, judo, shooting, swimming and weightlifting.

Judo, shooting and weightlifting, rated China's traditional strong events, combined to bring China 15 gold medals.

"We are especially pleased by our athletes in judo, shooting and weightlifting," said Cui.

Chinese strongmen and strongwomen stunned the field to grab eight golds and one silver in nine events they entered.

After Chinese weightlifting team finished all their competition on Saturday, they unfurled a banner proudly declaring that "Chinese power is unstoppable". It is the best result the Chinese weightlifting team had at any Games.

Judo also saw China create the best results with three gold medals, all in women's events including 52kg, 78kg and +78kg while Chinese sharpshooters have equalled their achievements in the Athens Olympics with four.

The diving team, dubbed the Dream Team, swept all the four synchronized events with four individual titles left for grabs.

The Chinese were happily surprised to see Zhang Juanjuan broke South Korean domination in archery to bag China's first ever Olympic archery title and Zhong Man played the dark horse role in winning the men's individual sabre for the first time since 1984 Los Angeles Games.

But all the silvers and bronzes were as cherished as the golds because all of them are a result of the athletes' hard work, Cui said.

"Every single medal is meaningful in its own way and won through painstaking efforts by our athletes," he said.

Cui, however, was aware that China still lags behind in heavy-weight events like swimming, which was reflected in the overall medals standings.

The United States claimed 16 gold medals by the end of Saturday but stood on top of medals tally with a total of 50. Swimming wunderkind Michael Phelps became the phenomenon of the state-of-art Water Cube by pocketing seven titles by Saturday.

And after the last swimming final on Sunday, he wrote a new page in the Olympic history to become the most-crowned athlete with eight gold medals in one Olympic Games.

Source: Xinhua

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