Universiade concludes, China topping medal standings
www.chinaview.cn 2007-08-18 21:20:19   Print

Special report: 24th Universiade Bangkok 2007

    By Sportswriter Zhang Suyue

    BANGKOK, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Thailand, world renowned land of smile, lowered the curtain of 24th Universiade in Bangkok on Saturday with China topping the medal standings with 33 gold, 30 silver and 27 bronze medals.

    Athletes from 152 countries and regions attending the closing ceremony witnessing five streams of water from the ground to put out the flame in a gracious manner.

    "As the fire was born from the ground to commence the opening ceremony, we decided to conduct the fire-off ceremony in this highly stylish way," said Dr. Arthit Ovrairat, director of Organizing Committee for opening and closing ceremony.

    "The Thai people have delivered what they have promised to bring the largest Universiade ever in terms of number of sports events and participants," said George E.Killian, president of International University Sports Federation (FISU).

    Bozidar Djelic, the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, took the FISU flag from Dr. Wichit Srisa-an, Minister of Education of Thailand, at the ceremony.

    Thanks to the haul of six diving titles in the last two competition days, China, hosting the Olympics next year, finally overtook her closest rival Russia to reclaim the overall champion.

    Depending on their dominance in athletics and shooting, Russia finished second on the standings with 29 gold, 26 silver and 38 bronze medals, followed by Ukraine with 27-22-17.

    Japan, making full use of their gold mine in Judo, climbed to the fourth place with 19-15-22. South Korea, who collected seven golds in taekwondo, got the fifth berth with 16-19-19.

    Remarkably, Thailand demonstrated her great progress in sports, when it reached a historic high of the sixth place on the medal standings with 15-7-9.

    The host country, aiming at grabbing at least 10 golds, has sent all her best athletes to the Universiade, even withdrawing the whole national badminton team from the World Championships in Malaysia.

    Athletics competition, despite the absence of world No. 1 United States, stole the spotlight owing to a rare case of re-run and a break of 26-year-old Universiade record.

    The talented Turkish runner Halil Akkas easily set the new games record for men's 3,000m steeplechase at eight minutes 20.83 seconds. The previous record was made by America's John Gregorek in 8:21.26 at the 1981 Bucharest Universiade.

    The Americans, however, spared no effort in the swimming pool, when they collected 10 out of the totaling 40 golds, enabling the world strongest sports country to finish the eighth in overall rankings.

    Leonid Ekimov of Russia and Anna Bessonova from Ukraine became the most brilliant stars at the biennial sports gala, since both of them claimed five titles in their respective competition of shooting and rhythmic gymnastics.

    The university sports games also turned out to be pure clean, when FISU declared that the results of all doping tests taken had been negative.

    "The quality of the installations combined with perfect organization by high level professional made this event unforgettable for all of us," FISU President Killian concluded in his closing speech.

    While the music blared, a concert by Thailand's leading contemporary bands and hip-hop groups started to entertain the guests all over the world.

    "Many thanks to Bangkok and Thai people, and see you all in Belgrade in 2009," said the Serbian deputy prime minister.

    It is time to say good-bye to the amazing Thailand, but the ebullient display of youth will go on forever.

Editor: Wang Hongjiang
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