China savors Olympic glory in first day of Beijing Games
www.chinaview.cn 2008-08-09 23:26:48   Print

    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 and dignitaries.

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)
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    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 day.

    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 Weiping)

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 Weiping)
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    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 banquets.

    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 leaders.

    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 golden start.

    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 outcome.

    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

Czech markswoman snatches first Olympic gold

Czech markswoman Katerina Emmons led all the way to snatch the gold medal in women's 10-meter air rifle, the first gold of the Beijing Olympics. Full story

Chen Xiexia wins China 1st gold medal

Chen Xiexia won the women's 48kg weightlifting title, the first gold medal for the host at the Beijing Olympic Games on Saturday. Full story

Olympic debutant Pang Wei grabs men's 10-meter air pistol gold

Pang Wei, a Chinese Olympic debutant, nailed down gold medal in men's 10-meter air pistol event with 688.2 points at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall on Saturday. Full story

Cyclist Sanchez from Spain wins men's road race at Beijing Olympics

Cyclist Samuel Sanchez from Spain claimed the men's road race gold in six hours, 23 minutes and 49 seconds at the Beijing Olympics Saturday afternoon. Full story

Romanian Dumitru wins first judo gold at Beijing Olympics

Alina Alexandra Dumitru of Romania won the first judo gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games here on Saturday. Full story

S Korean Choi beats Austrian Paischer to win men's 60kg judo gold

South Korean Choi Minho defeated Ludgwig Paischer of Austria by ippon to take the men's 60kg judo gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games here on Saturday. Full story

U.S. fencer Zagunis Mariel wins gold medal of women's individual sabre

U.S. fencer Zagunis Mariel won the gold medal of women's individual sabre at the Beijing Olympic Games on Saturday evening. Full story

Editor: Xinhuanet
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