By Xinhua writer Zhou Xiaozheng
BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Having impressed the
world with a spectacular opening ceremony of the Games, China on Saturday fully
savored the glory as the Olympic host, with athletes grabbing two golds to put
the country atop the medal tally, and its top leaders busy hosting world leaders
Gold medalist Chen Xiexia of China shows
the gold medal at the awarding ceremony of the women's 48kg weightlifting
event at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the Beijing University of
Aeronautics & Astronautics Gymnasium in Beijing, China, Aug. 9, 2008.
Chen won the first gold for the Chinese Delegation with a total of 212
kilos. (Xinhua/Yang Lei)
Weightlifter Chen Xiexia of women's 48kg class and
marksman Pang Wei of men's 10-meter air pistol reaped the first and second golds
for the 639-member Chinese legion, the largest at these Games, securing its
leading position in medal ranking, followed by the United States, South Korea,
Czech Republic, Spain and Romania, which shared the remaining five golds of the
The only regret of the day for the Asian sport
powerhouse seemed to be its failure to grab the first gold of the whole Games.
Despite a "double insurance" by defending Olympic champion Du Li and three-time
Olympian Zhao Yinghui, an expectant home crowd and dozens of Chinese reporters
at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall could only watch the formidable Czech
Katerina Emmons lead all the way to snatch the gold medal in women's 10-meter
air rifle with an Olympic record-breaking 503.5 points.
Pang Wei (R) of China celebrates with
his coach Wang Yifu after men's 10m air pistol final of Beijing Olympic
Games at Beijing Shooting Range Hall in Beijing, China, Aug. 9, 2008. Pang
Wei won the gold medal in men's 10m air pistol final. (Xinhua/Jiao
While Chinese athletes were fighting for glory on the
home fields, China's top leaders, particularly President Hu Jintao, were engaged
in an unprecedented diplomatic effort aimed at promoting the country's
friendship and cooperation with the rest of the world.
Motorcades shuttled across Beijing, transporting
foreign heads of state and government, royals and international organization
chiefs to the Great Hall of the People, the central government compound of
Zhongnanhai, and the State Guesthouse of Diaoyutai, where Hu and some of his
colleagues in the top leadership were waiting for meetings, talks or
Sources with the Foreign Ministry said that between
8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, a total of 24 diplomatic occasions were
arranged, including 8 for the president alone, which involved some 20 foreign
Hu had all his three meals Saturday on the banquet
table, hosting five leaders from Central Asia and Transcaucasia at breakfast,
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Vladimirovic Putin at lunch, and nine African
leaders at dinner.
The Chinese president's schedule has been extremely
tight ever since Thursday, as more than 80 world leaders and dignitaries have
come to the Chinese capital for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics,
staged in the National Stadium, better known as the Bird's Nest, in north
Beijing on Friday night.
Hu had 11 and 6 diplomatic meetings on Thursday and
Friday, respectively, before he declared open the Games in the Bird's Nest near
midnight Friday. However, there are more meetings and banquets in the line in
the next two days, including one with U.S. President George W. Bush.
While knowing nothing about the state banquets in
Beijing, Chen Xiquan, a plain farmer in Panyu District of Guangzhou, capital of
south China's Guangdong Province, also prepared a small family feast with
shrimps as the main dish.
"Shrimp is the favorite food of my daughter," said a
proud Chen, father of the triumphant weightlifter Chen Xiexia who gave China a
Fellow villagers set off firecrackers when Chen
finally jerked 117kg for a winning total of 212kg, a new Olympic record, and
some climbed onto rooftops to wave national flags to express their joy.
Banners for the celebration, prepared in advance,
were hung up, while the traditional lion dance, usually reserved for major
festivals and holidays, was staged.
It was certainly a joyful day to celebrate, but the
day also saw bitter tears. According to media reports, Du Li, the Athens
champion for women's 10-meter air rifle, burst into tears and locked herself in
the change room for half an hour after only finishing fifth in the final.
But many TV viewers, who had got up early to watch
the live broadcast despite a serious delay of their usual bedtime for the
opening ceremony of the previous night, found little difficulty to accept the
Actually, they have been well prepared for this in
the run-up to the Games, with media articles and TV programs telling the
people:"Take it easy, it's just a game."
"I heard all the hosts of the recent Olympic Games
had failed to clinch the first gold, so why should we be an exception to that
rule?" asked a woman in her 30s from Beijing's Haidian District, who only gave
the surname Ye.
"Anyway, a double-gold opening is already good
enough," she added.
Gold Medalists on Day 1 of Beijing Olympics