Rio de Janeiro: China claimed two more gold medals in diving and table tennis to be placed third on the medals table of the Rio Olympics. Chinese female paddlers defended the team gold after easily rounding up the final against Germany in straight three games on Tuesday, reports Xinhua.
It has been the 27th Olympic gold medal won by China in table tennis since the sport was introduced at the 1988 Seoul Games. Their opponents, the unexpected finalists who outlasted the 2012 London Olympic runners-up Japan in full five games Monday in the semis, should be satisfied after settling for a silver, a first ever Olympic medal in history for Germany’s women paddlers. With two Grand Slam winners and the current world No. 1 Liu Shiwen in the team, China’s head coach Kong Linghui, a Grand Slam winner himself 16 years ago, faced no dilemma in lining up his squad.
Keeping in mind that German Chinese Han Ying is the top force on the other end of the table, Kong opted for Liu to follow up Li Xiaoxia in the opening two games, rather than newly crowned singles champion Ding Ning, who’s not as good as the duo at playing choppers. The match turned exactly as what Kong expected as Li overcame fierce resistance from the seventh-ranked Han 11-9, 11-3, 11-7 before the 25-year-old Liu made short work of the local born German Petrissa Solja 11-3, 11-5, 11-4.
China only conceded one set in the third and doubles game, as the pair of Liu and Ding surrendered the third set 11-9 to Solja and another German Chinese Shan Xiaona but came back on court with even firmer hands, wrapping it up 11-6, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7. Earlier on Tuesday, long-time icon Ai Fukuhara’s Japanese team beat Singapore 3-1 to clinch the bronze medal.
In diving, China’s “dream team” reclaimed its dominance as Cao Yuan won the gold medal in the men’s three-meter springboard. Cao, 21, was the only Chinese diver in the final as hot favorite He Chao, winner of the event at the Kazan Worlds, was eliminated in the preliminary round. It was Cao’s second Olympic gold medal following his synchronized 10m platform title at the London 2012 Games.
China has now won five of the six diving gold medals decided so far at the Rio Olympics. “I was under pressure,” he said. “But when the final began, I have to focus on my dives and don’t think about other things.” “Actually I enjoyed the competition very much and I knew I made a good last dive,” he added. Britain also continued its momentum as their track cyclists won the women’s omnium and men’s keirin. Laura Trott became the first female athlete representing Britain to win a fourth Olympic gold medal after wrapping up women’s omnium title. She also became the first woman to collect a fourth Olympic gold medal in track cycling, surpassing Felicia Ballanger from France. “I am so proud at what I achieved,” said Trott. “We believed in ourselves, and in our team. It just started to snowball.”
Trott’s fiance Jason Kenny won men’s keirin which was restarted twice. Matthijs Buchli from the Netherland took home the silver. Malaysian Azizulhasni Awang ended up with a bronze. “We never thought we’d get anywhere near it here, but we’ve turned up and done the business again,” said Kenny about Britain’s progress in the recent three Olympics. In athletics, Omar McLeod became Jamaica’s first Olympic 110m men’s hurdles champion as the 22-year-old clocked 13.05 seconds to finish 12 hundredths of a second ahead of Spain’s Orlando Ortega. France’s Dimitri Bascou took bronze in 13.24.
McLeod, who resides in the United States, is competing in his first major international competition. Earlier in the Olympic Stadium, Kenya’s Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon timed her run to perfection to win gold in the women’s 1,500m while Canada’s Derek Drouin recorded his best leap of the year to win gold in the men’s high jump. After Tuesday’s finals, the United States still tops the medals table on 28 golds, followed by Britain and China with 19 and 17 gold medals respectively. –IANS
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